Trainer Matt Dunn’s stable foreman Ben Rodgers inspects the track with horse Altai Warrior yesterday.
Trainer Matt Dunn’s stable foreman Ben Rodgers inspects the track with horse Altai Warrior yesterday. John Gass

Too wet to race

THE Tweed River Jockey Club has been forced to cancel its past six race meets because of its dangerously rain-soaked track.

Officials had to call off this week's Anzac Day races at the eleventh hour, claiming poor drainage had left the Murwillumbah track too slippery to use despite rain not falling for two days beforehand.

Club chairman Bernie Quinn said while he was grateful race-goers still attended the "phantom" meet on Wednesday, it had been financially "disastrous" for the club.

"We couldn't operate," Mr Quinn told the Daily News, explaining they had no turnover.

"We get paid on turnover, but we gave [the public] free admission and supplied free buses," he said.

Mr Quinn said heavy rain had been hampering the track, which is located on flat ground in a low-lying area, for the past few months.

He said the club had already received $37,500 from Racing NSW to fix the drainage, but would now seek further funds to again tackle the problem.

"We had spent a bit of money on the past six weeks cleaning drains, but we're hoping Racing NSW can financially help us put in some bigger drains," Mr Quinn said.

Mr Quinn said the club would ask Racing NSW for a loan, but they wouldn't be speaking to them for the next few weeks.

"They said they would consider it," he said.

Racing NSW general manager industry Scott Kennedy said clubs could apply for adjustment payments if there were unusual circumstances.

"The club has some remediation work to do, with recent race meetings lost because of wet weather," Mr Kennedy said.

He said the club was credited on March 21 and paid in the middle of this month after approval from Racing NSW Country.

"Racing NSW made a one-off payment to the Tweed River Jockey Club of $37,500 in recognition of economic loss from previously abandoned race meetings," Mr Kennedy said.

Horse trainer Matthew Dunn, who was due to race at the club on Anzac Day, said this week's cancellation was unfortunate as they have been missing out on races since January.

"They've gone above and beyond and I know they have put significant money to improving the drainage, but at the end of the day it depends if it rains the day before," Mr Dunn said.

"You have to feel for the club.

"They rely on these meetings to be financially viable," he said.

The club is hoping for dry weather for the next race meeting on May 7.