Carrathool all set for curse-buster meeting


ORGANISERS for Saturday's Carrathool races have gone to unprecedented lengths to ensure the 131st meeting doesn't fall victim to the infamous Carrathool Curse.

Racing at Carrathool has been abandoned three times in the last four years but it will take a new level of sorcery from the gods to see this year's edition suffer the same fate.

Twelve months ago it was an unsafe track that kept the races from going ahead with human error blamed for the large number of cracks and holes scattered across the surface.

But stewards from the South East Racing Association gave the course the official tick of approval two weeks ago.

Chairman of stewards John Davidson praised the Carrathool Jockey Club for its efforts in preparation for the iconic and much-loved meeting.

The track underwent extensive repairs throughout last year to earn a classification as a dirt track in good condition.

"The course was deemed unsafe last year but it's looking good this time," Davidson said.

"The course has been visited three times by stewards and also Dave Hodgson, who does racecourse consultancy work for Racing NSW.

"The committee is very dedicated and they've put in an enormous amount of work to get the track in great shape so they should be commended."

Carrathool Jockey Club spokesperson Boo Harvey said the track was in good order after receiving close attention in the wake of the last cancellation.

"We've done a fair bit of work on the track to get it back in order," she said.

"Dirt tracks take a bit of work to maintain it's a fine line between being too hard and a situation like last year.

"We had to work on getting all of those clumps removed and broken up and then getting the right amount of compaction, as well, without it being too hard.

"A lot goes into it but it seems to be in good order."

Harvey said the early response from the community to this year's event had been "really positive".

"Everyone's behind it," she said. "I've already heard of some groups coming from afar so we're hoping for a very good crowd.

"It has got that bit of charm about it it's a bit of a novelty for city folk.

"It should be a great day."

Another scorcher has been forecast for Saturday with a high temperature of 42 degrees which could keep punters away.

But those who brave the conditions have been promised ice cold beer and even mist fans to stay cool.

The six-race program features the $14,500 Carrathool Cup (1400 metres) and five other events worth an enticing $7000 each.

Nominations closed yesterday with fields to be released tomorrow morning.

Entertainment will return to the Carrathool track this year with band 30 Mile performing until late.

Gates open at 11am.

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