IT’S time for Racing NSW to “take racing to the people”, according to one Wagga trainer who has joined the push for a standalone Saturday race meeting in the city.
Wayne Carroll has joined the Advertiser’s Our Sporting Chance campaign, which is aiming to bring a standalone Saturday race meeting to Wagga, along with an NRL Premiership match.
Currently, Scone is the only country racing club that holds a standalone Saturday meeting, with its marquee event this year scheduled for Saturday week.
Scone’s Racing Carnival will see more than $2 million in prize money up for grabs – unprecedented in country racing – largely on the back of it being granted standalone status. It will see some of the nation’s leading trainers, horses and jockeys descend on the town of 5000.
On the back of last week’s outrageously successful Wagga Gold Cup, which saw more than 8500 people flock to the Murrumbidgee Turf Club, Mr Carroll believes the time has come for Wagga to hold its own standalone meeting.
“This shows now that Wagga has a great course, great facilities and that’s just on the back of the Melbourne and Sydney jockeys commenting on how good the facilities are,” he said.
“Racing NSW has invested a lot of money into country racing centres – Wagga is one of the best ones – and there’s no reason why Wagga couldn’t supply Racing NSW with a standalone (meeting).”
By bringing a standalone meeting to Wagga, Racing NSW would be taking the industry in an exciting new direction, according to Mr Carroll, who has urged the sport’s governing body to act.
He believes it’s a matter of not if, but when Wagga lands a money-spinning standalone meeting.
“(Racing NSW chief executive Peter) V’Landys has already spoken about this years ago but nothing has come to fruition,” Mr Carroll said.
“It’s about time things like this started to pick up momentum.”
The push for a standalone meeting has received the backing of the MTC’s board, with president Stuart Lamont declaring Wagga was ready to host one of the prestigious meetings.
“It is obviously a decision of Racing NSW, but if the town is behind it I think that is very much a positive,” he said. “I’m sure if a meeting could be slotted in at the right time of year for Wagga, it would be a great boost to our club.”
Mr Lamont said the track’s infrastructure was “up to the grade” to host a standalone meeting.
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