ELMORE Harness Racing Clubs creates history on Boxing Day when it stages its first TAB meeting.
Club officials, headed by president Eddie Mullane and secretary-treasurer Cliff Powell, are pleased with the response from trainers for the meeting, with enough nominations for an eight race card in one the busiest racing periods for the year in the industry.
Elmore was to have TAB coverage for the first time last year when it staged its first meeting since 2005 but it was withdrawn at the last minute.
“It’s definitely happening (TAB and Sky Channel coverage) this year and will add a lot of extra interest to the meeting,” Powell said at the weekend.
“I’ve been told Sky 1 will cover the first race and the others will be on Sky 2,” he added.
Powell admitted it “wasn’t clear sailing” getting harness racing meetings back at Elmore, which has been a harness stronghold down the years.
“Before we held our meeting in 2005 we were told we would be finished as a club staging meetings due to the rationalisation of Victorian tracks at that time.
“There was a HRB official at that meeting on the day and I said to him we had nearly 1300 people here for the meeting; how many will they have at Melton tonight. He had to agree nowhere near the numbers we had,” Powell said.
Like other clubs which also had the death sentence at the time Elmore didn’t take the decision lying down.
Some vigorous campaigning led by Powell over the years saw the return of harness racing to town last year.
“This meeting is like a town reunion. A lot people come back for the meeting to get the chance to catch up with family and friends,” he said.
“We are expecting it to be a big day again.”
The feature event on the card is the Elmore Pacing Cup which has attracted an even field of R1-2 class pacers.
The Brian Gath trained Winkn Nod, owned by Echuca harness stalwarts Norm and Joan Visca and which has drawn pole gets his big chance in the race to return to the winning list while Blissfull Mind from barrier three and second rower Miss Meteor could also be key players in the race.
The John O’Reilly Memorial Trotters Cup for TRO or better class trotters also has plenty of interest with most runners having good recent form.
Poleliner Ballofmuscle, returning after a lengthy spell, had some promising form before going for a break and could run a bold first-up race.
First race is at 1.09pm and the final event at 5.31pm.