Photo: Horse trainer Allan Mcrae and Yass Races President Sam Longmore.

Although the horse races were cancelled early Saturday morning, the picnic side of the event went ahead in surprisingly good weather at Marchmont Racecourse.

Horse trainer Allan McRae and Yass Picnic Club President Sam Longmore

Racing NSW assessed the race-track and deemed it unsafe for horses to race on Saturday (February 26) due to rain the night before and the forecast of more wet weather to come.

Yass Picnic Race Club President Sam Longmore described cancelling the races a second year in a row as “gut-wrenching”.

Colleen Bush, Yasmin Bush, Olivia Richardson and Emalee Randall. Catherine Burke, Peter Burke, Rod Duck and Isabel Duck. Adrian Montagner, Ben Gordon and Blake Gregor. Donna Peat and Alistair Peat. Paris Hulme, Sophie Staines and Shivy Chibnall. Josh, Harriet, Carole, Aubrey, and Kate Vogel. Kate Mitchell-Innes, Angus Geddes and Booie Hayward. Rachel Laundy, Justin Taylor, Clare Blackman, Nikki Storey, Chloe Helene and Phoebe Storey. Simon Thomas, Alison, Adam, Susie Wilkins, Peter Wilkins, Sally and Jim Hutton.

“It’s hard, we’ve put in a lot of work, to the track and to all the areas and everything leading up to the races,” she said. “But it’s just about the safety of the jockeys and the horses on the track.”

“It’s gut-wrenching but these things happen, and they have to happen last minute,” she said. “We have to do everything we can do to try and get the races happening and unfortunately, the powers above say no.”

Yass Rotary – Alfred McCarthy, Peter Gibbs, Jim Abbey, Christine Anderson, Terry Butler, and president Mick Newling in the background

Sam said they had quite a few patrons come along to the race day even though they didn’t have the horses and not too many complaints.

“Without this day going ahead this year, it would have made it quite a bit harder for us to pick up and keep going next year,” she said. “So, all in all, pretty bloody happy.”

Despite the forecasted rain the day was warm, and the sun made an occasional appearance leading to ideal picnic weather.

Everything went ahead as normal, sans horses, with fashions on the field, foot races, drinking and some punting. A metropolitan bookie hosted a marquee for punting on interstate races with a few screens showing various races.

Sally Martin, Oliver Dhu, Emilie Dhu and Trevor Dhu

“The weather being as good as what it was, made the decision in the morning quite a bit harder to swallow,” Sam said. “But at the end of the day safety is paramount so we had to just run with it.”

TOP- Left To Right: Reece Murphy, Amy Brown, Courtney and Chris Mason, Tennille Kostovski, George Kostovski and Kurt Barton. Jef Mcglashan and Wayne O’Connor. Kylie Savage, Fiona Dowling and Ash Brewer. Rebecca Widdows and Greg Wilson. Alison Jones. Rossana Carr, Cindy Murphy and Amber Cargill.

Sam estimated the race meet only had about 40 or 50 per cent capacity compared to a usual meet.

“It was a pretty good day,” she said. “Obviously, we were down some numbers but that was to be understood.”

“Some people do actually come to watch the horse races and have a bet so without them there we lost a few people who would have usually come through the gate, but that’s okay.”

Sam said it was nice the Picnic Race Club were able to support the local Rotary, who hosted a barbecue for patrons.

(Front) Lillana Croker, Macy Dent, (Back) Ellie Urquhart, Melinda Hill, Viv Croker and Georgia Hill. Angus Merriman, Oliver Stump and Hugh Cooke. Sam Thurkettle on the bull.

“It’s nice to have them there and to catch up with the people who do a lot for the town in the sense of the Rotary, so that was good.”

By Brianna O’Rourke