Hawkesbury back in business after unprecedented 12 months

The Hawkesbury Race Club held another successful stand alone meeting with their annual Gold Cup event staged last Saturday. Full fields of good quality were on show at the provincial track, with Archedemus winning his second Hawkesbury Gold Cup.

The club was unable to hold the meeting last year due to the COVID-19 rules that Racing New South Wales had put in place. Hawkesbury Race Club CEO Ken Rutherford said it’s a big effort for the club to produce their stand alone meetings with their minimal resources.

“It’s a lot of pressure because a club like ours doesn’t have a lot of resources,” he said. “We’re a provincial club and full-time staff in the office is about no more than eight or ten.

“Putting on an event where you have to bring in lots of infrastructure like your umbrellas and tables, chairs, marquees and organise your function rooms which are, probably more 1950’s than 2020 to be fair, and you’re trying to make them as modern and attractive as you possibly can for the crowds, it’s a mammoth effort.

“Full credit to my staff and to the people around the club for putting in that effort and for achieving such a good result on the day.”

A great day was had by all at Saturday's Hawkesbury meeting, picture Steve Hart

With the jockeys sectioned off into zones during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the club was forced to hold its annual meeting at Rosehill. Another spanner was thrown in the works in 2021, when the banks of the Hawkesbury River burst in March, causing the racecourse to experience flooding only a month out from their feature race day.

Rutherford agreed they were nervous about their annual meeting being moved again, he but was happy to see how the community has bounced back.

“It was good to get past that week of floods and have the community over the last month or so rebound as well as it has,” he said.

“We weren’t underwater in terms of the major part of our actual racing surface and our training surfaces, they were okay and really unaffected. But certainly, the surrounds of the racecourse, the stabling area, the racecourse stalls and etcetera were all badly affected.”

Racing returns to Hawkesbury on Tuesday for another eight-race card with racing commencing at 12:20pm. The rail stays in the true position, with the track rated a Good 4 on Monday morning.

Rutherford says the track is in good order ahead of the meeting.

“The track has bounced back remarkably well,” he said. “Ideally, we’d want another week to 10 days between meetings, but it’ll be fine. There’s plenty of moisture in there and for a Tuesday provincial meeting, it’ll be perfectly fine.”