Provincial Clubs Clash Over NSW Scheduling

By: Ryan Clark
February 14th, 2012

Racing NSW faces some fierce debate over the coming weeks and months with more and more clubs staking claim to the lucrative Saturday meetings.

Wyong, Gosford and Hawkesbury are all pushing more a bigger share of the pie with Newcastle and Kembla Grange the main two under threat.

The success of the Hawkesbury standalone Saturday is seen as a major catalyst with Gosford and Wyong also encroaching on the weekend market during last season.

The Racing NSW draft calendar for the 2012/2013 season see’s both Gosford and Wyong with an extra Saturday meet at the expense of the already under pressure Newcastle Jockeys Club.

Hawkesbury also picked up an extra Saturday in the draft with that coming by way of Kembla Grange.

Wyong is in for a huge boost as Australia Day is on a Saturday in 2013 and their agreement to race on that day extends to whatever time of the week it happens to fall on.

NJC chief executive officer Cameron Williams said his club can ill afford to keep losing Saturday meetings.

“The last thing we want is to lose Saturday dates,” he said.

“You don’t put up your hand to lose Saturdays. I will be taking it further but it is hard to think that the dates we have lost will be replaced now.”

Newcastle is already struggling after they lost 10 weeks of racing last year when the track required urgent repairs.

They have picked up a Sunday meet as conciliation but they say it barely makes a dent on what they’ve lost.

‘Saturday is a favourable race date for us. Saturday is when the corporate dollar is spent at Newcastle,” he said.

‘If we lose Saturday meetings, we lose momentum.”

Gosford isn’t satisfied either, they are still pushing for their own standalone day where they can run a $1 million Gosford Cup program.

They had requested November 24 to be set aside for them but it appears Canterbury has retained it for the time being.

‘I was hoping for good news when the first draft of dates was handed to us but Canterbury has been pencilled in for the Saturday date we were looking for,” Gosford chief executive James Heddo said.

Wyong and Gosford are arguing that the Central Coast region has 300,000 residents and as such is currently under represented on the more spectator friendly Saturday schedule.

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