TAB’s coming for all Bundy racing
RACING: Not in the wildest dreams of Bundaberg Race Club president Dale Rethamel did he think the TAB would be coming to the club.
Yet that’s what will happen at a series of Sunday meets, starting this weekend, the NewsMail can reveal.
The Bundaberg Race Club will host the TAB meetings for the time being, following the introduction of new regulations that toughen the restrictions on racing amid the coronavirus crisis.
To reduce travelling by jockeys, trainers and other essential personnel, Queensland has been split into eight racing regions.
Bundaberg falls into the South East Coastal Zone, or zone four, which takes in Gladstone, Gympie, Monto, Mount Perry, Gayndah, Wondai, Nanango, Kumbia, Kilcoy and Esk.
All trainers who want to compete in events in zone four must come from the zone’s towns and cities.
Jockeys allowed to compete in zone four can also ride in the adjacent Darling Downs Zone, zone three, which includes Toowoomba.
Bundaberg has been selected, over Gladstone and Gympie, to host all events in zone four – starting with this weekend’s meeting.
The club is also scheduled to hold Sunday TAB meets on April 19, May 3, May 17 and May 31.
It is intended that the scheduling of race meets at the track will continue until the efforts in response to the coronavirus allow racing to be resumed under normal conditions.
“We’ve been very fortunate to get it (the TAB meeting hosing rights),” Rethamel said.
“We were happy to take on the responsibility.
“There’s no additional fees that we will get from it.
“We were just happy with providing our services.”
Rethamel said he didn’t know how many jockeys and trainers would turn up on Sunday.
He was still trying to get more information from Racing Queensland about how to properly run the event.
But he did reveal some things.
“We’ve got very strict regulations,” he said.
“Only the bare necessity in people will be able to attend.
“It will be a six-race field and they will be a TAB meet.”
The success of the greyhound club in getting TAB facilities last year looks likely to have been the deciding factor in Bundy getting racing to the venue for the short and maybe long term.
No other venue has the facilities to host TAB race meets.
Gympie and Gladstone, the next two largest club in the zone, having only non-TAB capacity.
Rethamel said the club would get only a minimal fee to run the meets and would not be making a profit from them.
He said the focus was on allowing the racing industry to continue and to make sure the welfare of horses was a top priority.
Rethamel conceded it was a shame to stop patrons from attending but said this was the new protocol for now.
“This is the new racing calendar,” he said.
“We make our money through hospitality, so it is a shame.
“For us, we are only becoming the host club until it changes back.”
Rethamel said there would be no difficulties in turning the venue from horse racing to greyhound racing even though there would now be only one day between the two.
He added that with no patrons at the venue, the clean-up would be significantly quicker.
More information will be released by the BRC over the next few days once it gets more information from Racing Queensland.
The new two-person, outdoor policy is creating challenges for all parties, but according to Rethamel it will not impact racing from going ahead at the moment.