By Mark Brassel
With the Australian summer of cricket now in full swing, it's timely that Bowraville kicks off its summer racing season next weekend.
Nambucca River Jockey Club stages its Geoff King Motors Macksville Cup program next Saturday (30 November).
This meeting is a precursor to the club’s feature meeting of the year, the popular Phillip Hughes Memorial Raceday at Bowraville Racecourse on Boxing Day.
Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, 25, tragically died when struck in the neck by a cricket ball five years ago at the SCG.
Phillip was born at nearby Macksville to his banana farmer father and regularly made the 15km trek to Bowraville races.
“The Boxing Day race meeting has always been a catch up gathering for people returning to the area for the holiday season and there could be no better venue than Bowraville Racetrack,” said NRJC’s secretary, Geoff Harris.
“Most locals would be aware that Phillip attended the course regularly and he just loved to join his local mates for a relaxed day out when he did not have cricket commitments.
“We are keen to maintain this event in Phillip’s memory and to continue the tradition of comradery and friendship that traditionally happens at this time of the year.
“Our club is delighted to confirm we will again partner with Macksville Ex-Services Club to run this event. This year’s feature will be the Phillip Hughes Flying which will headline the six-race program.
“Last year’s event was spectacular with great weather, strong fields and a bumper crowd.”
But back to this Saturday’s meeting and it is the third running of the day with its popularity is growing strongly.
“Last year’s meeting was a resounding success with many patrons attending,” Geoff Harris said. “Companies used the event to host Christmas parties for staff and customers and a festive atmosphere was evident.
“This year’s raceday is destined to be bigger and better as many groups have already booked the hospitality area for functions. The usual food and beverage outlets will be operating on the day and patrons will be able to have a flutter with the bookies or the TAB outlet on course.
“The track has never been in better condition and raced very well for the September Bowraville Cup meeting.
"The club is pleased to advise that, despite the dry conditions, the track is still in excellent condition and the whole of the racecourse area is as picturesque as has been seen for many years.
“All facilities will be available for patrons including our food outlets and bars. There will also be a group of bookmakers on course as well as the TAB for interstate and other NSW betting.
“A relaxed, sociable and enjoyable day is assured for all and is a day not to be missed!”
Meanwhile, Muswellbrook Race Club will hold its Christmas Parties Raceday on Friday (29 November).
“Bring your family, friends or work colleagues to our Christmas Parties Raceday,” declared MRC’s GM, Duane Dowell. “Enjoy our beautiful grounds with lunch options available from the Lioness Café.
“We also have limited bookings available in our Parade Ring Pavilion including a BBQ buffet lunch.”