WINNING the Best Picnic Racing Club in Victoria award for the third year in a row – and the fifth in six years – proves Balnarring is doing something right.
Club president Peter Spyker accepted the accolade at the annual Picnic Racing Awards at Amstel Golf Club, Cranbourne, on May 17. He praised the ‘’hard work by the committee and generous support from members, sponsors, owners, trainers and jockeys who race at Balnarring and the public who attend our meetings’’- and singled out the Weymouth family for their involvement. He also acknowledged support from Country Racing Victoria.
Club secretary Neil Heathcote said the awards attracted ‘’pretty keen competition’’ from other country racing clubs who, along with Racing Victoria, voted in the winner.
Balnarring Picnic Racing Club celebrated its 150th anniversary last year and has staged races on the same site at least once a year over that time.
It has improved with age, too: lean-to toilets with hessian walls and corrugated iron roofs have been replaced by modern conveniences; the 12-14 bookies are now all on bitumen with shade sails protecting their computerised betting systems.
The secretary for 14 years, Mr Heathcote said he could not remember a year when a picnic race meeting winner had not gone on to bigger things at city tracks Moonee Valley or Flemington.
The six country meetings Balnarring hosts each year include the famous Australia Day meeting which attracts 4000 punters – the biggest crowd to attend a country meeting in Australia.
The other meetings attract between 2500 and 4000 each. With victories such as these, the club in Coolart Rd Bittern is odds-on to greet the judges for many years to come.