Tweed River Jockey general manager Brian Charman on the strongly recovering Murwillumbah track
Tweed River Jockey general manager Brian Charman on the strongly recovering Murwillumbah track Scott Powick

Anzac Day meet abandoned, but future meets on track

TWEED River Jockey Club may have lost the battle, but it expects to win the war.

Flood water which engulfed the Murwillumbah race track during the Tweed's worst flooding on record caused an estimated $250,000 worth of damage and has led to the abandonment of the TRJC's Anzac Day meeting on Tuesday.

Northern Rivers Racing Association stewards on Wednesday inspected the racing surface - which was submerged for five days at the height of the flood - before deciding to abandon the meet to allow the surface time to mend.

The abandonment comes at a bad time for the club as it looks to recover, but TRJC general manager Brian Charman said the decision would ensure future race meets could go ahead.

With three meets scheduled for May 8, June 4 and June 25, Charman said it was imperative to have the track in top order.

"The track is in pretty good nick considering the level of water over it two weeks ago, but we need to ensure the track gets back to the stage it was before flooding,” he said.

"If we were to race on Anzac Day, we could be sacrificing those next race days, and the important thing for the jockey club is to ensure we continue to race and provide a place for trainers to train their horses.

"We won't sacrifice our race track for a race meeting if it's not ready.”

The club worked hard to restore the race surface and on-course facilities for the Anzac Day meet after an estimated 750mm of rain fell during the floods, including some 500mm which fell in a 12-hour period from 2pm on Thursday, March 30.

Charman said an estimated 400mm of rain fell onto the track in the week prior, leaving the track inundated with over 1.1 metres of rain during that period.

The water level reached the top of the race track's winning post, which tripled the previous flooding level at the club.

About 10 televisions, 15 fridges, carpets, air- conditioners, tiles and general facilities were destroyed or left beyond repair.

However, Charman said with the support of Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club, the club had made solid progress in restoring the track and club.

He praised the efforts of tradespeople and staff who had been working tirelessly to get things back in order.

"Getting the training facilities back in place (was a priority) so 100-120 horses a day here could begin work straight away,” he said.

"They were able to get back on the track within three days after the flood.

"Racing NSW have been supportive, advising of the process of how they can help out.

"The ATC are helping us out with second-hand furniture, new television screens, and contributions made over and above anything that we would have expected here at Murwillumbah.

"It's tremendous, we could never have done without that support.”