After the cancellation of the Adaminaby races in November, is has become apparent that the upcoming Southern District and South East spring racing seasons could look very different.
As a result of the current Covid-19 climate and Racing NSW rules, Gundagai-Adelong Race Club president, Mick Crowe said there wouldn’t be any crowd over 500 people for the 2020 Snake Gully Cup carnival, which is scheduled for November 13-14.
“At this stage, we are going to limit our numbers. We have put on our website that we are going to limit the crowd to 500 people and there will be is no corporate tickets available,” Crowe said.
It would have been possible for the Gundagai club to have more than 500 people, but the current Racing NSW protocols and NSW Health advice made it practically impossible.
“The protocols based around crowds over 500 people are completely different to a crowd under 500,” Crowe said.
“You are able to roam freely for a crowd under 500, provided they don’t have a drink in their hand; but if the crowd is over 500 people, we need to have seating for everybody.”
Marquees and fashions on the field will also fall by the wayside, with the club unsure how they will determine which 500 people can attend.
“We would normally have 600 to 700 people in tents but that won’t happen and there won’t be any fashions,” Crowe said.
“We haven’t even discussed the Calcutta, but I highly doubt we can have that either. We would have to speak with the club.”
Crowe and the Gundagai-Adelong Race Club are expecting to lose out financially this year, with the Snake Gully Cup meeting annually attracting 1000s of race goers, and the Hair of the Dog race day growing more popular by the year.
“Protocols are changing week by week but it’s hard to see things getting better,” Crowe said.
“We are definitely going to be missing out on the revenue but what’s worse, is that we are not supplying a great event for people.”
Crowe said that the social fallout was worse than any financial implications, with the Gundagai-Adelong Race Club trying to balance what was right for the region and what was right for racing.
“It is enormously challenging. We hold a social licence in this town, we are trying to provide a service for the racing industry, whilst also adhering to rules implemented by NSW Heath to keep people safe,” Crowe said.
Crowe and his team had a taste of a small crowd last Sunday, with around 200 people attending their August meeting; which by all reports was hard enough to manage.
“After only having a couple of hundred there on Sunday, it was horrific to police.” Crowe said.
“I couldn’t imagine having 500 there and trying to stop people walking with drinks and enforcing social distancing was nearly impossible.”
As far as who will be eligible for tickets come Snake Cully Cup carnival time, Crowe said the committee would be working on that soon.
“The eligibility for tickets will be a big issue. We need to accommodate owners first and foremost and we don’t want people left waiting at the gate because they can’t come in,” Crowe said.
Despite the Tumut Derby Day meeting arriving two weeks earlier than the Snake Gully Cup carnival on October 31, the Tumut Turf Club had yet discussed how they would be dealing with their upcoming meeting.
According to president Dave Rosetta, the club would meet soon and address the possibility of crowds.
“We have only discussed things informally. We have a meeting pretty soon but the problem is, it is a fluid situation at the moment,” Rosetta said.
“We hope to race that is for sure.”