South Western Times

HOLD YOUR HORSES FOR 18 MONTHS

FINAL RACE MEET ENDS AS WORKS SET TO BEGIN

- JUSTIN FRIS

The Bunbury Turf Club held its final meeting of the 2020-21 season yesterday, which was a swansong in more ways than one.

An exciting track redevelopm­ent that is due to begin next month will add an extra giddy-up to the iconic venue, renowned for its South West Autumn Racing Carnival and popular Bunbury Cup. While punters and participan­ts will be without the facility for 18 months, the revamp would allow for year-round racing at the club.

There was a tinge of sadness as I drove out of the Bunbury Turf Club yesterday, as the venue hosted its final meeting before the major track redevelopm­ent.

It is a venue which has brought so much education and happiness to me personally and profession­ally.

Some of my most memorable moments included seeing Big Caroline win on a standalone Saturday meeting for Peter and Matthew Giadresco in 2018, Paddy’s Shadow coming from the clouds to win this year’s 2021 Furphy Bunbury Cup for Collie’s Raquel Williams — and of course seeing local hoops Kyra Yuill and Lucy Warwick serve it up to some of the State’s best.

But while I will miss going to the track, chatting to turf club chief executive Alex Doble in the mounting yard and snapping plenty of smiling faces on big days, I know there are many more good times on the horizon.

Sure, we might not have racing this summer, but this is very much a “short-term pain, long-term gain” situation.

On a regular basis, South West participan­ts — irrespecti­ve of stable size — perform at an exceptiona­lly high level at not only provincial tracks, but at Ascot or Belmont Park on a Saturday.

Therefore it is only fitting that they are given premium facilities to aid them in their bid to showcase the full range of their talent.

Covering South West success on the track is one of the best elements of my role, as I can appreciate how hard all trainers and riders work behind the scenes to be at their peak.

I would like to acknowledg­e everyone who has made my Bunbury racing experience so special and cannot wait for 2022 when we return once again.

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