Stakes Are Raised

Friday, 17th March, 2017

Last year’s push bike giveaway which will again take place tonight with 24 bikes on offer. PICTURE: Supplied Last year’s push bike giveaway which will again take place tonight with 24 bikes on offer. PICTURE: Supplied

By Tyler Hannigan

Broken Hill’s harness racing season comes to a thrilling conclusion tonight with the carnival of cups held on the eve of the St Pat’s race day.

The traditional meet kicks off one of Broken Hill’s biggest social weekends of the year and will crown the town’s driver, trainer and horse of the season plus the running of the Rocky Baker Memorial Pace.

As well as the racing spectators will be able to enjoy a jumping castle, pony rides, face painting and a merry-go-round all free of charge. The harness racing club will also give away $3,500 worth of vouchers donated by local businesses and 24 kids push bikes donated by Carbine Chemicals with entry forms available at the gate or the entry table.

All this makes for a great family night according to Broken Hill Harness Racing Club President Tracy Robinson.

“We target the families with all the activities for the kids,” Robinson said.

“We target everyone but mainly the families with the free pony rides, merry-go-round and everything like that.

“It’s just a good atmosphere for families and kids because the parents don’t really have to worry about them.

“We’ve had a lot of compliments of the family-friendly atmosphere so that’s something we want to keep.

“I have to thank the generous support we’ve received from the local community and businesses as well as Tarshar and Jensen Baker who have continued Rocky’s great work.”

The night is also Broken Hill’s only TAB-racing event for the year and will be broadcast on SkyRacing2. 

The night will feature six races, all with full fields and great prize money headlined by the Rocky Baker Memorial Pacing Cup over 2500m with a purse of $14,000. 

“It’s great for the locals to race for more money,” Robinson said.

“The racing is different and the atmosphere is totally different (to a regular meeting).”

Tonight’s meet is the final meeting for Broken Hill’s 2016/17 season, a season that Robinson said she’s been pleased with.

“I’m pretty happy,” she said.

“I’m pretty sure the whole club is happy,” Robinson added.

“It’s been up and downs with some hiccups with different things but it’s been sorted and hopefully this weekend will go off with a bang to finish.”

Robinson is confident that harness racing in town is on the right path but added that without out of town help, the meetings would struggle.

“It can only get better,” she said.

“Hopefully we get some more people involved, especially the younger ones.

“Without the Mildura horses we’d probably struggle but it’s good to see the wins be shared.

“The money isn’t the best but our local trainers work their butts off and they keep their horses going.

“It’s great to keep them racing but in a friendly atmosphere.”

In the main race, local hopes will rest on Ashleigh Camilleri’s Kilbirnie North View, Matt Schembri’s King Of Dreams and arguably Broken Hill’s best horse Bettatobelucky driven by Cassie Robinson.