ELMORE IS HOT TO TROT AGAIN
AFTER 11 years in recession Elmore Harness Racing Club’s Boxing Day meeting has returned to the calendar.
2016 will see the first meeting since race organisers decided to move country club meetings to larger tracks.
The track was then only used for training purposes, with meetings held in Bendigo.
It has deteriorated from lack of use for more than 10 years — but the determination of one particular club member has brought life back to the tired ground.
Cliff Powell is secretary-treasurer of the Elmore Harness Racing Club and has lobbied for five years to bring the meeting back to the town.
The community responded with overwhelming support to the Boxing Day meet and trainers from the local area have welcomed the event.
‘‘I rang around and garnered support from Country Clubs Association and other people in the area to help bring the event back,’’ Mr Powell said.
‘‘Local people used to have great time (at the Boxing Day meeting) and it was a great day for town.’’
The club was given a grant from the Victorian government to upgrade facilities and restore the track to its former glory.
It’s over half way complete in the renovations to ensure the track meets occupational health and safety standards.
But there’s still a lot of work to be done before Boxing Day arrives.
The decision to move the meeting had shocked Mr Powell, with the last race day receiving an attendance of more than 1000, which included Harness Racing Victoria officials.
This year is expected to foster the same response with the event receiving an overwhelming support from the town since the club made the announcement.
‘‘It’s going to be a day for the whole family,’’ Mr Powell said.
‘‘We’ll have kids entertainment, a water slide, wine tasting, a local band playing from Bendigo, a petting zoo, face painting and plenty of food and drink options.’’
The day will also include a monte race, pony trotters, dual seated sulky rides driven by professional drivers
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and Harness Racing Victoria giveaways.
There’s also the option to hire out one of the 10 marquees available on the day, with room for 10 people.
There’ll be eight to 10 races on the day all televised on Sky Channel.
Broadcast timeslots will dictate
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when the races will take place, with the day likely to start about noon.
Free return buses will run from Echuca to Elmore (stopping in Rochester) and Bendigo to Elmore (stopping in Goornong).
‘‘We hope everything runs smoothly on the day,’’ Mr Powell said.
‘‘If it’s a success we’ll look at running the meeting again and adding another meeting during the year to the harness racing calendar.’’
For any more information or bookings, contact Cliff Powell on 0408 582 267.
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Elmore Harness Racing Club president Ed Mullane, left, and secretary-treasurer Cliff Powell are putting in the hard yards for a Boxing Day meeting, Elmore’s first in 10 years .