Mount Gambier misses out on race season

The new grass on the Allan Scott Glenburnie Racecourse will remain untouched after the Mount Gambier Racing Club announced earlier this week thoroughbred racing will not take place this summer. Due to the ongoing work on the 1850m surface, track manager David Shepherdson recommended an extended break from racing is best and Racing SA and the MGRC committee agreed during a meeting on Monday.

The biggest victim of the decision is the prestigious Mount Gambier Gold Cup, which will not take place this season despite almost 160 years of history. As a result, the MGRC may not host a single meeting for around 18 months.

Shepherdson said the committee had pondered on the possibility of racing this season, but made the right call for the venue’s longevity. “Earlier on in the season I was hoping we could get one race meeting around April or May, but it was a 50-50 decision,” he said. “The question was to have just one race meeting or put it to bed and wait. “(The call) is just to keep control of the track because it still could be juvenile, so there is no real point jumping on it early with lots of hooves smashing it up.”

The 2020-21 Gold Cup was originally scheduled for Friday, December 4, but the MGRC postponed the showpiece event in October before this week’s cancellation. Although the club may not host any racing for almost two years, Shepherdson said everyone remains

positive about the future. “They love the way the track is and want to come back bigger and better,” he said. “Things like this are a bit annoying, but I think everyone is pretty upbeat.”

After taking care of the Glenburnie racecourse for around four months, Shepherdson has been flat out completing six-step track management plan to overcome previous weed infestation issues. Despite the setback of no Gold Cup, the track manager wanted to remind the public a return to racing later this year is looking more certain.

“I would like to let people know things are great and going in the right direction,” Shepherdson said. “It looks like a golf fairway at the moment. “There is a nice layer of fresh kikuyu there, but it is currently around 50mm and needs to get up to 100mm. “We will keep treating it, so it should be in fantastic condition come next spring and summer. “Once we comeback racing, we should stay racing.”

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