Trots called off: Cootamundra Harness Racing Club folds and transfers races

NO LONGER: Strathlachlan Andy crosses the line clear in front with driver James Harding to win the Wattle Time Cup in 2016. Picture: Kelly Manwaring
NO LONGER: Strathlachlan Andy crosses the line clear in front with driver James Harding to win the Wattle Time Cup in 2016. Picture: Kelly Manwaring

Cootamundra Harness Racing Club has folded bringing an end to the sport in the town. 

It will mean the two race meetings scheduled for 2018 will now be transferred to Junee.

President Keith Boxsell said around $74,000 in prize money was awarded in 2017, which was the result of support from businesses and volunteers keeping the club going.

“It is disappointing to see the club not have a future,” Boxsell said.

“The demise of smaller harness racing clubs over the past decade continues in NSW and the long term future for other clubs seems uncertain.”

Last year the club received an award from Harness Racing NSW for its efforts preparing and running the 2017 Cootamundra Cup.

Boxsell thanked businesses for the on-going support and patronage over the years and committee members Tony Ward and Steve Hunt for their tireless work in recent years.

The club’s committee made the hard decision to close as more stringent conditions by HRNSW were placed on the club to hold its two meetings this year.

A lack of emergency funds to repair Cootamundra’s trotting track following flooding caused by the January storms was a key part of the decision.

The club’s long history dates back to when the first trotting clubs were established in regional NSW before it when into recess for a number of years.

Tony Ward and the late John Ward led a group of volunteers to re-establish the sport in Cootamundra in 1980s.

A new 800 metre track was built at the Cootamundra Showground with the help of local businesses, industry and donations.

After the club was reformed, Cootamundra hosted five to six meetings a year attracting trainers from across south west and central west NSW and the ACT.

The club was due to host two race meetings this year, however they have been transferred to Junee’s Harness Racing Club.

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