by Ross Stanley
With the Christmas-New Year period looming, it is fun to play Janus, the mythological figure often symbolised by a face that looks both backwards and forwards.
In review, 2017 has been fairly kind to the South Burnett racing world.
The area’s geographical placement has meant a constant inflow of participants from all points of the compass.
The action has been diverse and competitive with no players proving dominant.
In short, it has been a healthy year.
Although crowd numbers fluctuate for various reasons, there have been many meetings with very pleasing roll-ups.
Drawing folk from the virtual to the real world is a challenge not reserved to country racing.
It is also encouraging to note that the district is still a training base and almost every yard experienced joy in 2017.
On the state scene, the ongoing absence of Eagle Farm on the roster has been a potent disappointment.
The track that used to be known as Headquarters is now officially out of action until spring.
While it is a bitter blow to the general turnover, the Winter Carnival and Doomben’s workload, it is also a setback for gallopers who prefer the longer stretches the larger course offers.
An upside for the next few years is the funding certainty promised for rural racing.
Meanwhile, the proposed merger between Tabcorp and Tattersalls is expected to make progress in 2018. The man in the street has heard highly promising claims each time a new arrangement comes into play for what is now UBET.
A concern is that Queensland will now be a small fish in a much, much larger pool.
There is also conjecture about the fate of Radio 4TAB, if and when the new juggernaut trundles in, because cost cutting often occurs in these circumstances.
Maybe the new powers that be will settle for networks centred in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Easter Saturday meeting at Lee Park on March 31, 2018 will be of special significance, because it will mark the Golden Anniversary of racing’s return to Nanango on April 20, 1968.
On that occasion, around 2,500 patrons kept nine bookmakers busy.
This column will present a series of historical snippets in the coming months – but here are a couple of teasers for veterans to ponder over during the holidays:
Don’t forget to mention this reunion type meeting to family and friends when you catch up over Christmas.
This column will be taking a festive season break and will return in late January 2018.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to everyone who’s helped with the information and smiles to the camera that underpin Gunsynd’s Gossip each week.
I look forward to talking about tales of triumphs achieved by South Burnett players again in 2018.
Do take extra care in the coming weeks – and Season’s Greetings to all!