By Geoff Newling
Tamworth Jockey Club has taken another step to help local trainers through the disastrous drought by waiving all August waiving track fees for trainers.
After staging a recent meeting where they raised money for drought-stricken farmers they have decided to waive the training fees as a means to help struggling trainers.
Tamworth Jockey Club general manager, Kay Jeffrey, confirmed the decision at this week’s Tamworth Rush meeting: “Everyone knows we are in drought and it’s a struggle for our owners and trainers,” she said. “Our club has decided to waive all track fees for the month of August. It might help the trainers absorb some of the costs and pass it on to savings for the owners.”
She said the TJC had followed the decision by the Muswellbrook Race Club to waive its track fees as well.
“I rang and spoke to Duane (Dowell) about it,” Kay Jeffrey said of her Muswellbrook counterpart. “The more we can do for trainers the better. The drought has hit everybody badly.”
Tamworth track manager, Lindsay Bowne, said it’s a wonderful move as he, and his staff, continue to pour many hours of work into the Tamworth track maintenance.
“It raced really well on Tuesday,” Lindsay Bowne said of a track which had not coped with recent rain and had one meeting abandoned and another transferred to Scone. He hopes to have it ready for Tuesday week’s meeting as he also looks forward to the big Romantic Dream 2YO meeting in October.
“It’s going to be a big year for the club next year too,” he said. “We’ve got the Country Music Cup meeting in January and that Thursday meeting is a stand-alone meeting. No-one else races the same day.”
Tamworth trainer Sue Grills, who is equal leader on the Hunter and North West Racing Association trainer’s premiership with Kris Lees and Greg McFarlane on four wins, thanked the TJC for waiving the August track fees. She said waiving the track fees is a huge boost for the stable.
“We work 20 to 25 horses a day and around 450 a month,” he said. “So it is a huge cost for us. Everything has gone up as well. Hay and chaff costs more and will continue to go up too.”