August 4, 2020
Horse racing returned to the South Burnett on Saturday after an absence of almost six months … and the smiles on the faces of fans were easy to see.
Lee Park at Nanango was selected as the first local track to restart under COVIDSafe conditions and race club officials were at pains to ensure the track complied with Queensland Health directives.
The usual jockeys changing room was too small to safely accommodate all Saturday’s riders, so the club turned the canteen over to them instead.
And trackside, guests were encouraged to picnic on the ample lawns or if they ventured into the undercover areas to buy a drink or place a wager, to observe proper social distancing and make liberal use of the hand sanitisers spread about.
The club also asked all attendees to provide their contact details when they entered the course, and reined in the usual pre-race publicity to help keep crowd numbers down.
The August Nanango meeting usually includes the Nanango Cup but club officials decided to shift the feature race to September to further reduce the large roll-up that traditionally attends the annual Cup meeting.
All these extra precautions created extra work for the club’s volunteers but the result was a relaxed and happy meeting where most guests seemed to be enjoying a day at the track in safety.
The absence of the Nanango Cup feature race didn’t prevent two other August traditions being observed.
One of these was the annual Blessing Of The Jockeys ceremony held at the start of the new racing year to wish all jockeys a safe and happy 12 months ahead as they ply their trade on the tracks.
This was led in the mounting yard by Rod Morgan prior to the start of the day’s racing – the second year in a row he has compered the event.
The other August tradition is the presentation of the race club’s annual premierships, which are awarded to the trainer, jockey and horse which have had the most successful year at Lee Park.
This year, the top trainer and top jockey awards were won by husband-and-wife duo Glenn and Hannah Richardson (nee English). They were presented with their two trophies mid-way through the day’s racing.
Out on the field, the first three races of the day were dominated by horses that each beat their competitors by several lengths.
But the competition tightened significantly by Race 4 and tightened even further into a nail-biting finish in the final race of the day, with just short necks separating the first trio across the line.
Afterwards, club officials told southburnett.com.au they were very happy with the way the meeting ran and the good behaviour of guests.
The club is now planning its next meeting, which will be held on Saturday, September 12, followed by the South Burnett Race Club’s annual Caulfield Cup meeting at Wondai in October.
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Race 1 – Jockey Celebration Day Class B Handicap (800m)
1. Senko Sidra (7) – Leeanne McCoy
2. Curry Connection (3) – Stephanie Lacy
2. Cheesie (1) – Kenji Yoshida
Margins: 2 1/2 lengths x 2 1/2 lengths
Race 2 – Nanango Caravan Service And Repairs Maiden Plate (1000m)
1. Brigalow Queen (6) – Hannah Richardson
2. Enraged (1) – Paul Hamblin
3. Amour Vole (3) – Ty Wheeler
Margins: 2 1/2 lengths x 5 lengths
Race 3 – J.A. Lee Memorial QTIS Open Handicap (1000m)
1. Eight Over (2) – Hannah Richardson
2. Walshie (6) – Hannah Phillips
3. Music Scene (5) – Leeanne McCoy
Margins: 2 lengths x 3 lengths
Race 4 – Col Ryan Memorial BenchMark 60 Handicap (1200m)
1. Havashout (5) – Rebecca Wilson
2. Supervisor (6) – Stephanie Lacy
3. Savsgold (4) – Paul Hamblin
Margins: 3/4 length x short neck
Race 5 – Heritage Bank Nanango BenchMark 50 Handicap (1600m)
1. Gratsie (5) – Stephanie Lacy
2. Gambit (1) – Shannyn Stephan
3. Telloff (12) – Hannah Phillips
Margins: Short neck x short neck
- View videos of all five races on the Nanango Race Club’s YouTube Channel