BRIAN Cowden can’t remember the last time high-level Racing NSW executives visited the Moruya racecourse, but one thing he’s certain about is that tomorrow’s Afflick Family Race Day will be a special event.
Not only will it be the annual celebration of the Afflick family’s contribution to racing in the area, but it will also mark the grand opening of the racecourse’s new clubhouse.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys will be among the guests there tomorrow to help mark the occasion.
“There’s a fair chance this will be the biggest occasion in terms of officialdom since the racecourse opened some 26 years ago,” Cowden, the Moruya Jockey Club’s secretary-manager, said.
“But I just pray the weather is nothing like it was on that day. It was freezing cold, they reckon.”
Cowden said getting the new clubhouse completed was a big relief for the committee, even if the whole process has been smooth sailing.
“You’re always concerned when you take on projects because you hear horror stories about things going over budget, but we were pretty confident,” he said.
“It’s all come together on time and on budget and we’re even happier with the result than what we anticipated on paper.”
V’landys will be one of several high-level Racing NSW officials at the track tomorrow and Cowden said their presence will be the icing on the cake.
“I think it’s a good sign of support and it also gives us a chance to showcase what we’ve got down here,” he said.
“(We’ve got) a good racecourse and a very supportive racing community and I think that will stand us in good stead for further improvements over the years.
“We’re no Royal Randwick but as far as country race tracks go, we’ve got a pretty impressive facility with a good vibe about it.”
Tomorrow’s on-track action, which will get underway shortly after 1pm, has the potential to be as exciting as the grand opening.
It will also mark a homecoming of sorts for talented jockey Jessie Whipp, who is returning after an extended lay-off.
“We have very big fields for a non-TAB day,” Cowden said.
“Jessie is coming back for a visit to Moruya – she’s a local lass who is in some respects part of the extended Afflick family with her brother being married to Dallas Afflick.”