Manicured track is ready for a big day of racing according to Pelly
A LOT of tracks across Victoria are in great condition.
They are prepared well, they are maintained and are always great under foot for the competitors.
You might not find so many of them at country clubs but Echuca racecourse is a stunning exception.
It’s an achievement in which track manager Anthony Pelly takes a great deal of pride.
‘‘The track isn’t too bad at all,’’ Pelly said.
‘‘It’s been run on a lot lately, but at this time of year it’s getting plenty of water through its new irrigation system, as well as plenty of sunlight so its in pretty good condition.’’
In recent weeks it has hosted additional meetings for Seymour and Gunbower after both courses had their running surfaces ruled unsafe — and that’s on top of its own schedule.
The track is shaping up for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup Day meeting — the biggest day of the year at the club.
The reigning Victorian Country Club of the Year is constantly being worked on to make sure it is in pristine condition.
Pelly, who has been with the club for close to 10 years, said the club was always looking for ways to improve.
‘‘We’ve recently put the new irrigation system in,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s one of the best systems available, and we are used to that at the bigger clubs, but you probably don’t see that kind of system out on the country courses.
‘‘We are really proud that we have been able to put that kind of work in at our course. We also undertake a track restoration annually. We used to complete this every three years, but we have now worked on this every season in order to make sure our horses are on the best track possible.’’
There are a lot of elements to Pelly’s job, including working the marshalling for the races.
‘‘My day is pretty busy on a race day,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s fairly hectic. We have deadlines to get horses ready for jump, if things go wrong you have to fix it and with a race every 30 or 40 minutes, there isn’t a lot of time in between to get the horses moving and ready to the stewards to load them into the gate for the jump.
‘‘A lot happens on race day, there are a lot of moving parts and if we don’t get it all right then it can get pretty problematic.’’ Until the race starts. ‘‘You have a few minutes of calm as the race is about to begin,’’ he said.
‘‘Watching the jump is exciting, getting to see these horses at full stride doing what they do is great. You are right in the action as the race begins.’’
BRAINS TRUST: Echuca Racing Club president Troy Murphy, left, and Anthony Pelly outside the Pavilion at ERC. Pelly has been working on the track for almost a decade and has it in tip top condition for Tuesday.