Cloudy future for Tumbarumba Cup

The 2020 Tumbarumba Cup race meeting is at risk of being postponed or abandoned due to the bushfire disaster.

At a time when the community of Tumbarumba would need an outlet to decompress after the Dunns Road bushfire disaster, another community event looks to have a cloudy future.

The Tumbarumba Turf Club’s annual cup meeting, which is set down for February 1, is at risk of being postponed or abandoned.

The club’s committee has been evacuated to Wagga Wagga, and there are no feet on the ground to determine the condition of the Tumbarumba racecourse.

Tumbarumba Turf Club secretary Col Lyons says that the committee really won’t know what is happening until later this week at the absolute earliest.

“I don’t know how things will work but we won’t be allowed back into Tumba before Saturday or Sunday by the sounds if it, so there is no way to really tell what condition the track will be in,” Mr Lyons said.

“We will have to hold a very urgent meeting as soon as everyone gets home and back into town.”

The Tumbarumba Turf Club will struggle to get water on the surface too, with the Snowy Valleys Council unable to provide drinking water to the town after the recent firefighting efforts.

Lyons was obviously disappointed in the current predicament, considering the club’s recent efforts to provide a lush racing surface.

“Our track will be very dry and it would be hard to image us getting water on it soon, we might need to get some rain,” he said.

When asked directly whether he thought the race meeting would proceed, Lyons was maintaining a realistic stance but explained the club would do everything possible to race.

“No I’m not confident but we will do our best that’s for sure, but until we get all the guys together, check the track and find out where we sit, we just don’t know,” he said.

Southern Districts Racing Association steward Jason Shultz says that Racing NSW would help do their best to see Tumbarumba race.

“The point of these once a year race meetings is for the community to get together and to keep racing alive in these areas and we want to continue that,” he said.

“It’s basically there one social day of the year and given the circumstance, if we couldn’t race there (on February 1), hopefully we could source a date later in the year.”

Shultz will inspect the Tumbarumba racecourse in the coming weeks and assess whether the meeting can realistically go forward.

“Any tracks that race once a year, it is a Racing NSW policy that we get up there to inspect to track,” he said.

“We were going to get up there mid January but obviously we will wait until the fires clear before we assess the damage and see if they are suitable to race.”

The Racing NSW steward suggested if the surface and facilties were okay to hold a race meeting, the decision to race would be left to the club, as he understands that this is a very trying time for the community.

“I will speak to the club and make sure they are okay to race after everything that has happened,” he said.