Residents in the small South Australian town of Quorn are unsure of their annual race meet’s future after Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) changed the date.
The Quorn Carnival is presently held on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, however, as of next year it will take place on the weekend before.
The changes were made in order to allow a meeting at Port Augusta to take place during the three-day weekend.
Locals are in uproar over the exchange, with local Andrea Bury adamant that the new predicted crowd numbers may not be enough to sustain future race meets.
“We worked out that it will take away at least 400 people,” Ms Bury said.
“People who play footy and netball can usually come because association matches are played on that weekend, but now we will lose all of those people.”
Ms bury said that the removal of the race day from the long weekend will be detrimental to the entire town.
“It is the biggest social event on the Quorn calendar and for the past three years it has grown significantly … I’d say this year it attracted the best part of 1000 people,” she said.
“All the accommodation is booked out, the pubs are packed … it has fairly significant spin offs for everyone and obviously this will be impacted if it is a smaller event.”
Quorn Jockey Club president Richard Paynter believes that the TRSA made their decision without taking the town’s best interest into account.
“I’m very disappointed,” Mr Paynter said.
“They looked at their financial income and didn’t consider the success of our races.”
However, TRSA chief executive Jim Watters feels that the date change was the best decision for the racing industry.
“To achieve the best outcome for racing in South Australia the board elected to have a TAB meeting on all three days of the long weekend and the only way to do that was to shift Port Augusta one week forward and relocate Quorn to where Port Augusta was,” Mr Watters said.
“We have to take best advantage of the off course wagering opportunities.”