Race meet on track
Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021
By Emily Ferguson
In a year like no other, the St Pats Races will go ahead in March as what will be a normal race meeting.
Prior to Christmas, the St Pats committee made the decision after much discussion that Broken Hill needed an event to bring the community together, despite the risk of potential border closures.
St Pats Club President Margaret Corradini said the decision was debated long and hard.
“We consulted extensively with Racing NSW Country and took heed of the health advice from the relevant authorities and after all of this; we voted to race.”
Since the decision was made, many restrictions were listed including that patrons are free to walk around, can use the betting ring, the fashions on the field can proceed and other amenities will be open and accessible.
In order to race, it is essential that all tickets must be pre-purchased with no tickets being sold at the gate, people must socially distance at the event and make use of sanitising stations set up around the racecourse.
“We feel as a club the race day restrictions imposed on us as acceptable and we can work with them and people can enjoy what we hope is a normal St Pats race day,” Ms Corradini said.
Ms Corradini said without the support of key sponsors the 2021 event would not be going ahead.
“Without the backing of our major supporters and sponsors such as the Credit Union, Foundations Broken Hill, Steve Radford and the local registered clubs we would not be racing,” she said.
“They have stood beside us once again and offered advice and sponsorship at a time when our local economy like so many others have struggled.”
The St Pats Office opened Tuesday morning, allowing people to have face to face access to staff and be able to purchase tickets and souvenirs.
However, ticket sales have already been in high demand, with the ‘Lawn Lounge’ having already sold out and ‘Wacky’s Bar’ has sold about 90 percent of it’s capacity.
“Up until now all sales have been via email, social media or the phone so as long as people adhere to the COVID-19 office plan they are free to call in and speak with our staff,” Ms Corradini said.
“We still have ticket available in our very popular and all-inclusive Gary Radford Pavilion which is the ultimate way to spend a day at the races in air-conditioned comfort with lunch and drinks included.
“We are only five weeks out from race day and we are looking for the people of Broken Hill to support us as they have done for so many years.”
St Pats Club Vice President, Andrew Schmidt said they hope to keep everything as normal as possible.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that for the next five weeks we’re COVID free and we’ll have a normal race day,” he said. “Things start to really ramp up, a bit like the hamster in the cage where it gets faster and faster as it gets closer.
“The bulk of ticket sales are from people outside of Broken Hill, the locals tend to leave it to the last couple of weeks.
“But the message I’ll give to local Broken Hill people, if you don’t book soon you will miss out.”
Mr Schmidt said it’s a strange feeling because this year they aren’t selling memberships which is a really important part of what they do.
“Because our members bar which is a smaller area we decided not to utilise that this year because we can’t put too many people into a small space.”
The St Pats Office located on Argent Street (between the BHP and the Workies Club) is open from 10 to 3pm, Monday to Friday for anyone wishing to purchase a ticket or have any questions answered.