Day At The Track

Thousands attend Riverina Paceway opening

06:00 PM 12 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Rod Smith addressing the crowd,Harness racing
Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith addressing the crowd at Riverina Paceway last Sunday.
Riverina Paceway

A PICTURE perfect day greeted nearly 3,000 racegoers in Wagga Wagga as the Riverina Paceway was officially opened last Sunday.

The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a great day of harness racing with some excellent performances on track highlighted by Tuapeka Glory setting a new track record in the best finish of the day. 

The seven-year-old made use of the new sprint lane to defeat Pocket Of Terror by a short half -head, with the first four placegetters separated by less than one and a half metres.

In the first race of the day Anthony Frisby drove Mistery Road to victory claiming a historic double. Frisby took out the first race at the grand opening of the new Bathurst track in October 2014 aboard Uncle Paul.

Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny was delighted with the new track and the crowd that had come to enjoy the day.

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

“It really is exciting to see such a great crowd here and we’ve been blessed with perfect weather. It’s a wonderful day for people to experience harness racing for the first time, or even reconnect with the sport after many years.”

The opening ceremony included Rod Smith (Chairman of HRNSW), Michael McCormack MP (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Riverina) and Paul Toole MP (NSW Minister for Racing) who all spoke about the importance of this facility for the Riverina and for harness racing in NSW. McCormack was thoroughly impressed with the facility.

“This facility will be the jewel in the crown for harness racing track across all of country Australia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Toole commended HRNSW on its foresight and perseverance.

“There have been a number of people involved over this journey that is about making sure that this industry is going to go from strength to strength.”

Leading reinsman Luke McCarthy doesn’t make too many trips to Wagga but was impressed by what he saw.

“I don’t often come to Wagga but with a track and facility like this I can certainly see it attracting trainers from Sydney more often, especially for the club’s feature races which they wouldn’t have travelled to in the past,” McCarthy commented.

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

 

Kyle Maher

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