Originally written by WAYNE DREW
DUNKELD Racing Club has been forced to transfer today’s annual picnic race meeting to Hamilton.
Heavy downpours in recent weeks have cast doubts over the ability of the car parks to handle the predicted heavy traffic.
Dunkeld club secretary, Bill Picken, said the decision to transfer the meeting was made after an inspection of the track and surrounds early on Thursday afternoon.
“The track itself is pretty good except for a couple of spots, but the float carpark and the patrons’ carpark is the real concern,” Mr Picken said.
“The float carpark was our biggest worry. The committee believed it (float carpark) was probably a little bit soft to take the chance.
“It’s disappointing, but the committee believes it has made the correct decision.
“We’re still hopeful that a big crowd will turn out at the Hamilton track, which is in good condition.”
The decision to transfer the meeting is a body blow not only for the Dunkeld club but also to the Dunkeld community.
Businesses were preparing for a bumper day with thousands of people expected to converge on the township.
The Dunkeld club, much to its anguish, was forced to abandon its November meeting last year after a freak storm struck the township on the eve of the meeting.
The meeting was rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the optimum country picnic meetings on the Victorian racing calendar.
The picturesque landscape and the free-and-easy atmosphere had combined to ensure race-goers travelled hundreds of kilometres to support the meeting.
Mr Picken said he remained optimistic that the busloads of patrons who were set to invade Dunkeld today, would travel the extra distance to the Hamilton racecourse.
“It should still be a great day’s racing with a great atmosphere.
“Hamilton is one of the best courses in country Victoria and I’m confident racegoers will support the meeting with the same enthusiasm that they would have had Dunkeld been hosting the meeting.
“We’ve got all the facilities to cater for a big crowd in Hamilton, so there’s no reason why the meeting won’t be successful.”