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St Pat’s readies for 2021 meeting

Wednesday, 9th December, 2020

Jockey Madison Lloyd won five races at the 2020 St Pat’s Race meet. PICTURE: Michael Murphy Jockey Madison Lloyd won five races at the 2020 St Pat’s Race meet. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Emily Ferguson

St Pat’s will be racing in 2021 with the date for the race meet selected and the committee ready to do their part in ensuring its a success.

St Pat’s will take place on Saturday, March 13, 2021.

St Pat’s President Marg Corradini said they’re extremely happy to have accepted the date from Racing NSW, even though it was already their chosen date. 

With so many restrictions in place the committee has been working on a budget based on reduced crowd numbers and the cost of complying to these restrictions at front of mind.

As it stands the Covid-19 conditions include the following: All patrons must be seated, all tickets must be pre-sold none can be sold at the gate, reduced numbers which currently sits at 25% of normal attendance figures, Covid-19 Marshalls to be employed and a Covid-19 plan must be implemented, and social distancing must be practiced at all times.

Patrons will be allowed to leave their seats to get a drink, purchase food, place a bet and use the toilet facilities.

“The restrictions will definitely impact the event, we don’t know how because every week and even daily some restrictions are being lifted so what we’re trying to do is roll with the punches so we’ll deal with any restrictions that are placed on us,” said Corradini. 

“About a month ago the restrictions were that we could have 800 people at the race meeting, those restrictions have been eased so we’re now having 25 percent of what our normal attendance would be, by March or after Christmas if there is no more extreme COVID cases I would say we will be at least up to 50 percent if not 75 percent but of course it’s all an unknown, so what we’re trying to do is work with what we’ve got at the moment and go from there.”

The St Pat’s committee’s decision was based on the realisation that Broken Hill needs to have an event to work towards from a social aspect and stage an event that will bring people to the region, they said as a committee they have a responsibility to stage St Pat’s next year.

“Broken Hill has had nothing since St Pat’s this year.

“We were extremely lucky because on the Friday before we raced the Prime Minister came out and said the restrictions would take place from the Monday so the restrictions took place from the 16th of March.

“It’s going to be very different, it’s not going to be the St Pat’s that people have known over the last couple of years but we will certainly make it as good as we can.

“The restrictions still in place at the moment that all the patrons have to be seated so that’s a challenge... and all of those restrictions are a challenge.

“We’re also working on the fact that last year’s race day was horrendous weather wise, it was extremely windy, extremely dusty, quite cool and we have to work with the fact that we’re dealing with a function in March and it’s likely to be 35 plus degrees and we’ve got to take into account shade and seating and all sorts of things,” she said. 

“If in the next couple of weeks they say well people don’t have to be seated we’ll go with that and reorganise areas and so on and as I said we’re just rolling with the punches and doing the very best we can.

“At the moment everything has to be pre-booked and we have to supply packages for people to be able to purchase, there will be no memberships, we can’t have anyone buying a ticket at the gate, they all have to be registered with their names, addresses and phone numbers so it’s a pretty mammoth task but we feel our committee is up to it so we’ll do the best we can.”

Racing NSW Country advised that the committee cut the program from eight races to six based on the number of horses in work, the other factor they need to consider in the lead up to race day is that 80% of the runners hail from South Australia and Victoria so the committee is hoping there are no more border closures otherwise they will be in a precarious position.

The committee said they have had an amazing response from sponsors, corporate backers and life patron Steve Radford who are all supporting them in staging St Pat’s 2021, as well as the racecourse trust who have generously waived a large part of the hire fee for next year in a show of solidarity and community goodwill.

St Pat’s hospitality packages will soon be available via the ‘St Pat’s Race Club Broken Hill’ Facebook Page. 

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