The stage has been set for a mammoth race meeting tomorrow, as the Tumut Turf Club prepares for a fantastic six-race-program headlined by the $15,000 Ray White Tumut Mile.
What makes the meeting all the more exciting is the fact that the small community race club is hosting their first TAB meeting in 19 years; a feat in this day and age when so many other small clubs have lost TAB meetings.
Racing NSW Country Executive Officer Brian Charman explained that holding a TAB meeting is the ultimate reward for community clubs.
“In my opinion, when a community club is upgraded to a Sky 2 meeting, it is a great compliment to the club for them having raced their previous meetings in great order,” Mr Charman said.
“To have a Sky meeting is a huge achievement and the club should be congratulated on their professional approach towards running the current TAB meeting.”
Despite all the work in gaining TAB racing status, the Tumut Mile meeting was almost lost due to the catastrophic Dunns Road bushfires on January 4; only for the meeting to be pushed back two weeks.
Tumut trainer and track curator Kerry Weir highlighted just what it meant to the club and those supporters of thoroughbred racing in Tumut to see TAB racing return.
“It means everything,” Mr Weir said.
“It’s good for the club going forward and the future of the club looks bright.”
The Tumut Turf Club have made it no secret that they want to be a fully fledged TAB racing club and Weir believes a strong showing on Saturday will leave Racing NSW no other option than to send more TAB meetings their way.
“If the meeting is a hit, one thing should lead to another and a second or third TAB will hopefully come along,” he said.
Weir did joke it was nice to be racing for more money on the local stage too.
“It’s less travel and more money,” he laughed.
In spite of all the club’s recent success, the Tumut Turf Club wouldn’t be racing a TAB meeting tomorrow without the ongoing support of all the sponsors and volunteers who make each race day possible.
Ray Piper of Ray White Tumut is the major sponsor on Saturday and has been a great supporter of the Tumut Turf Club in recent years.
Mr Piper, who has always been willing to support the small racing club, congratulated the committee on obtaining TAB status.
“It’s a tribute to the committee who have tried so hard to make it happen,” Mr Piper said.
“We know that these meetings are not easy to get; they really have put in a great effort to put Tumut on the map as a town and racing entity.”
The popular Tumut businessman was also pleased to find out his business was chosen to accompany the running of the inaugural Tumut Mile.
“I felt so appreciative of a club I love and respect,” he said.
“They are such a hard working, gracious bunch of people who provide for so many others; I feel absolutely honoured to be involved with them.”
Mr Piper, who regularly supports Tumut community groups and organisations, offered some insight into why he has continued on with his support of the Tumut Turf Club.
“I love supporting Tumut organisations (and) this one has done it tough for years and provides such a social outlet for locals, their families and friends, along with one of the greatest local economic stimulus year in and out for Tumut,” Mr Piper said.
For those racing fans interested in attending the meeting, gates open at 11am with racing to commence at 1.44pm tomorrow.
The club is opening the gates up to the community and asks for a gold coin donation as entry fee, with all funds donated going to the Community Foundation for Tumut Region Dunns Road bushfire appeal.
There will be free kids entertainment with jumping castles and face painting, while punters and parents will be kept busy with full bar and kiosk facilities, a big screen and TAB van.