Last Monday Forbes Jockey Club conducted another very successful Bankstown Sports Club Forbes Cup race meeting which saw 500 visitors and many locals go through the gates of Forbes racecourse to enjoy the spectacle of thoroughbreds competing in an eight-race programme.
The reporting of results and highlights of the race meeting will be left to one of the very best country racing correspondents and the voice of Central and Western racing Colin Hodges OAM.
My report is on a race club that has obtained and maintained a unique partnership with highly successful Sydney clubs and their suppliers associates and members which celebrated a partnership of 23 years last Monday. It is this partnership that has enabled Forbes Jockey Club to become independently financial, successful and attract visitors to the town annually to spend money and enjoy the facilities of Forbes.
To be able to achieve this requires a very good committee and organisation of that committee. My invite to the committee came from Tom Molloy and Kerry Nicholson who invited me to come to a meeting. Since becoming involved I am in awe of Tom Molloy’s passion for horses, the racetrack management and Kerry Nicholson’s business and organising skills. Both gentlemen in my mind are to the fore of bringing the racetrack and facilities into the 21st century. Racing in Forbes would not have survived without their involvement. Both would acknowledge the assistance they have received over the years from the committee members through working bees and general support.
The downside of being a highly successful, independently financial and hard-working club is the aging of the members on the committee. There is a need for more younger people to come forward and become involved. One area the club thought they may attract young committee was through the association with the junior rugby league committee to whom the jockey club has given gratis the operation of the canteen at the two race meetings held annually.
That invitation is there and to any young citizen wishing to join a thriving race club committee.
The Forbes Jockey Club with part financial assistance from the Country Racing Development Committee has established on course administration rooms jockey rooms for female and male jockeys beneath an open viewing undercover grandstand.
A modern bar with cool room and equipment storage. 121 tie up stalls and 3 overnight stables which enables the club to host maximum nominations for any race meeting they hold. Security fencing has been erected to protect the public from the horses. A disabled toilet has been built and hopefully the present male and female toilets will be modernised or replaced.
Additional electrical outlets have been installed to enable carnival vans and rides to operate. A first-class race track which has irrigation facilities for the full circumference which required the club to purchase and house a modern efficient pump. Railings inside and out have been installed. The barrier stalls are in excellent condition and housed in an enormous shed along with other plant and equipment the race club owns to assist in the day to day operations and maintenance to continue thoroughbred racing in Forbes.
A huge undercover area has also been built for the comfort of patrons. The race club has also benefitted from the knowledge and expertise for technical and engineering on projects from Graeme Freney and George Doyle. The club has maintained the beautification of the centre of the track by planting crop and spraying weeds for many years.
The latest project is the Heritage Grandstand for which a grant was obtained and funds from the Country Racing Development Committee and Forbes Jockey Club committee. This large injection of funds will see the century old grandstand restored to a safer access and some of “her former glory.” The restored works are nearing completion and will be re-opened with much pomp and ceremony at the Spring race meeting to be held on 13 October, also known as Everest Day in NSW Racing circles.
Forbes Jockey Club’s major charity beneficiary is Forbes Can Assist whose major fund raising is the Forbes Camel Races which are held at the racecourse. The charity also benefits from the Bankstown Sports Club Forbes Cup Calcutta which is run on the Sunday night prior to the race meeting at Forbes Services Memorial Club.
Last Monday’s Bankstown Sports Club Forbes Cup race meeting realised an NSW TAB turnover of $668,000 which when combined with the fixed odds turnover will be well over one million dollars. On course saw TAB turnover of $34,000. The meeting attracted nine bookmakers whose takings were just over $60,000. The SKY coverage of the race meeting prominently displayed Forbes racecourse nationally and internationally. So, hats off to the Forbes Jockey Club committee and President John Rennick. Thanks also to past members of committee for their contributions.