DESPITE a drama-filled lead-up to this year’s Camperdown Cup, the event has been hailed a huge success with similar crowd numbers recorded compared to last year.
With marquees and umbrella packages already erected in readiness for the next day’s racing, two wet patches in the course proper saw officials render the course ‘unraceable’ at about 8pm Friday.
Camperdown Turf Club president Laurie Hickey said the main issue was a circle measuring about 20 metres in diameter at the track’s finishing line.
“The stewards walked the course at about 7pm and used a probe to check the track, which was going into the earth about 200 millimetres,” he said.
“When they got to the finishing line, the probe sunk about 400 millimetres into a wet patch. That was it; we were told the track was too unsafe to race on.”
Mr Hickey said the stewards had advised the previous week the track was too hard and suggested doubling the watering regime from two hour intervals to four hour intervals.
“What’s happened is that the wind has gotten up and blown the water back, so that the area between two sprinklers was crossing over and getting a double dose,” he said.
“It was a huge disappointment at the time, but what followed was unbelievable, truly inspiring.”
Rather than abandon the meeting completely, the committee agreed to relocate the entire event to the Terang Racecourse and immediately set about making the move.
“We had to move all the umbrella packages, the refrigeration, everything, to Terang,” Mr Hickey said.
“As word got around about what had happened, we had a flotilla of locals turning up of their own accord with utes and trailers offering to help us.
“It was incredible community spirit and really makes you understand what a magnificent community Camperdown is.”
Committee members and volunteers worked through until about 11.30pm to relocate the infrastructure and were back on course at 6am to finalise the minor details.
Mr Hickey said the show of support from racegoers was also “incredible”.
“Compared to last year’s race meeting, we were only 14 patrons down,” he said.
“We absolutely thank everyone who supported us, who filled up their cars and made the trip over.
“We had perfect weather, the Fashions on the Field were of a really high calibre, the racing was of a high standard and the atmosphere on the day was very friendly and relaxed.”
Mr Hickey thanked the Terang and District Racing Club for its support, ‘No Fuss Events’ for relocating the umbrella packages and all the volunteers and patrons who supported the event.