Huge crowd flocks to the Riverina Paceway opening

12 March 2019 | AMANDA RANDO
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A huge crowd was in attendance for the offical opening of Riverina Paceway last Sunday.

A huge crowd was in attendance for the offical opening of Riverina Paceway last Sunday.

PERFECT weather attracted a huge crowd to the official opening of Riverina Paceway in Wagga Wagga last Sunday afternoon.

The long-awaited opening delivered on all the aspirations of the Harness Racing New South Wales Board with a crowd of more than 3000 patrons packing into the new facility.

Those in attendance after enjoying the 10 races on the program stayed until the very end and by all accounts will be returning to the track.

The opening ceremony was officiated by HRNSW Chairman Rod Smith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Riverina the Hon. Michael McCormack MP and NSW Minister for Racing the Hon. Paul Toole MP.

“Credit must be extended to previous HRNSW Boards who had the foresight to commence this project and my fellow Board Members for now bringing the development to this stage,” Mr Smith said.

The Racing Minister Paul Toole presented the Wagga Harness Racing Club Chairman Mr Terry McMillan with the racecourse licence and was extremely praising of the facility.

“I congratulate the HRNSW Board for continuing the work of establishing state-of-the-art facilities for harness racing across the regional areas of this state which will take the sport well into the future,” Mr Toole said. 

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is the member for the Riverina, was thoroughly impressed with the facility.

“This facility will be the jewel in the crown for harness racing tracks across all of country Australia and the $12million investment demonstrates the commitment to the region by the controlling body HRNSW,” he said.

As part of Mr Smith’s address to the crowd he also announced more feature racing is heading to Riverina Paceway.

The Alabar Breeders Challenge Regional Finals will be held at the track on August 4, with prizemoney of each final elevated to Group 2 status and carrying $50,000 in stakes.

These races are a precursor to the Group 1 Four and Five-Year-Old Finals that will be held at Riverina Paceway in April 2020.

“The Board’s commitment to feature racing in all regions and to participants who support our Breeders Challenge and the Bathurst Gold Crown through the introduction of the four Group 1 races next year here at Riverina Paceway is clearly demonstrated,” Mr Smith said.   

“This day has been a long time coming but I’m thrilled that the Riverina now has this wonderful facility where owners, trainers and drivers can really demonstrate how talented their horses are.

“It really is exciting to see such a great crowd here and we’ve been blessed with perfect weather but I compliment the Club led by President Terry McMillan and his extremely hard working Vice President Brian Hay and the General Manager Graeme White for their superb efforts in promoting the meeting, especially through the media. 

“It’s a wonderful day for people to experience harness racing for the first time, or even reconnect with the sport after many years and I thank everybody for attending today.”

There was plenty of action on track as well starting in the first race of the day when Anthony Frisby drove Mistery Road to victory claiming a historic double. Frisby took out the first race at the grand opening of the Bathurst track in October 2014 aboard Uncle Paul.

The next feature meeting at Riverina Paceway will be Wagga’s TAB Carnival of Cups event on Sunday April 21 (Easter Sunday) that includes the Wagga Cup.

 

Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government.

HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT:

AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

(02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando