Southern District's Country Championship heat moved from Wagga to Albury

OFF TO ALBURY: Kayla Nisbet returns a winner on Steakandbearnaise in this year's SDRA Country Championship heat at Murrumbidgee Turf Club. Picture: Laura Hardwick

OFF TO ALBURY: Kayla Nisbet returns a winner on Steakandbearnaise in this year's SDRA Country Championship heat at Murrumbidgee Turf Club. Picture: Laura Hardwick

WAGGA has lost Southern District Racing Association’s (SDRA) Country Championship heat to Albury.

Next year’s $150,000 SDRA Country Championship qualifier has been handed to Albury Racing Club as part of a shake up to their Cup carnival.

The first two editions had been hosted at Murrumbidgee Turf Club, the district’s premier track.

Racing NSW have decided to share the event with Albury next year, pending the progress of the club’s track renovations.

SDRA’s Country Championship meeting has been pencilled in for Sunday, March 19.

Racing NSW general manager, industry and analytical, Scott Kennedy confirmed Albury is set to host the race meeting.

“Pending progress of the track,” Kennedy said.

“We’ll keep a very close eye on that.”

Kennedy explained the decision was based around sharing opportunities between the two major SDRA bases.

“Both are very strong racing towns, one of the strongest in the state and they both do a great job,” Kennedy said.

“Albury have had a strong case all along to have a crack at it and with the renovations happening they will get a run at it.

“Hopefully the track will be back in time.”

When contacted by The Daily Advertiser, MTC chief executive Scott Sanbrook indicated the club had been looking forward to hosting the meeting again.

“The Country Championships meeting has developed into one of the highlights of the season and a race day we would love to hold every year if that was possible,” Sanbrook said.

Albury Racing Club chief executive John Miller was unable to comment until Racing NSW officially announce the change, which is expected on Wednesday.

Albury have just commenced major drainage works to their track. The renovations are expected to be completed in time to return to racing in February, but any delays may put the Country Championship heat, and their Cup meeting in jeopardy.

Under their new-look Cup carnival, the club has decided to part ways with their traditional Thursday meeting.

Albury will host the opening day, featuring the Country Championship heat, on Sunday March 19, then their Cup on Friday, March 24.

Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy

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