STONY Creek Racing Club’s season opening race meeting on Saturday, December 8, has been cancelled after official trials scheduled for last Thursday were unable to proceed due to insufficient nominations.
Stony Creek Racecourse successfully underwent pre-emptive remedial drainage works throughout October in preparation for its summer racing season.
As part of Racing Victoria’s (RV) return to racing program, each track that undergoes remedial works must be signed off by RV stewards and the Victorian Jockeys’ Association as suitable for racing in official trials at least two weeks prior to the date of their return race meeting.
The trials have been rescheduled to Tuesday, December 11, ahead of the Club’s new return race meeting on Saturday, December 29.
They will replace those originally scheduled for Traralgon on Tuesday, December 18, with entries to close at 12 noon on Friday, December 7.
RV has determined that the December 8 meeting will not be transferred to another venue, due to a heavy racing schedule that weekend with three TAB meetings programmed on both Friday and Sunday.
Racing Victoria General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said that while the situation was unfortunate for SCRC, ensuring the integrity of the track was vital to horse and rider safety.
“It’s unfortunate for Stony Creek that they cannot proceed with their December 8 meeting, but it’s important for horse and rider safety that any track that has undergone works is suitably tested under trial conditions before racing recommences and we’ve been unable to do that in time,” Carpenter said.
“Once official trials have been held and the track has been signed off as safe for racing by stewards and riders, we look forward to welcoming the return of racing to Stony Creek, which is an important club within the Gippsland region.”
SCRC Chief Executive Ralph Gallagher said the Club was committed to the safety of all who make up the racing industry but nonetheless he was disappointed the trials could not proceed on the scheduled date.
“The new race date, being slightly later in December, has proved to be very popular, not only with those who had planned to come to the first meeting of the Club’s season, but also as a perfect opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season with friends and workmates,” Mr Gallagher said.
“The number of bookings for hospitality packages had reached a record high and the cancellation will be a disruption to planned Christmas celebrations that will affect many people.”
“The Club is making every effort to assist those bookings in identifying alternate arrangements, possibly at other race meetings in the region. Any payments made will be refunded within the next three working days,” he added.