Manning Valley Race Club will have a technician on duty all day at the Bushland Drive track next Tuesday to ensure the problems that plagued last year’s Melbourne Cup day meeting aren't repeated.
Murphy’s Law – when whatever can wrong will go wrong – applied at the Taree’s Bushland Drive Racecourse last November 7.
A power surge at 11.30 caused major damage to the on-track communications, blacking out all the TV screens and TAB monitors. This wasn’t rectified until 5pm, well after the running of the Melbourne Cup.
The audio kept dipping out as well, adding to the frustrations.
Patrons were able to view action from Melbourne and other venues on the big screen in the centre of the track.
But there was further drama as just 10 minutes before the start of the Melbourne Cup the screen went blank. After frantic efforts the coverage resumed as the field left the gates for the race, eventually won by Wingham’s Corey Brown on Rekindling. This was Brown's second Melbourne Cup win.
“It was a difficult day,’’ MV Race Club chairman Greg Coleman recalled in something of an understatement.
However, on Tuesday there’ll be a technician at the track from 9am and he’ll be on-site for the duration of the meeting.
“That added to last year’s problems, we contacted him immediately but he was on another job and couldn’t leave,’’ Mr Coleman said.
He confirmed a number of frustrated patrons left the track early.
However, Mr Coleman doesn’t think this will impact on Tuesday’s crowd, which he expects to be again around the 2000 mark.
“The Winning Post Function Centre is booked out,’’ he said.
“This is our biggest crowd of the year and a lot of younger people enjoy dressing up and getting out to the track.’’
Murray Nelson will call the five race local card on Tuesday, where the feature event will be the Furphy Spring Cup to be run over 1600 metres (see page 18).
All races will be restricted to eight starters due to many meetings and the spread of available jockeys.
The Times will feature an extensive coverage of the Taree meeting both online and in print next week.