MANNING Valley Race Club's decision to move the Taree Cup Carnival from August to November has already been vindicated due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in NSW.
The Taree Cup will now be run on Sunday, November 21. Had the club not successfully sought to move the meeting to November the cup carnival would have been run Friday, August 20 and Sunday, August 22.
"It's proved to be a smart business move,'' race club chairman Greg Coleman said, adding that the club started negotiations with Racing NSW to move the cup to November in the pre-COVID times.
Mr Coleman hopes that by November life will be closer to something like normal and this will have a positive impact on the cup meeting.
"There shouldn't be as many restrictions as far as crowds are concerned and hopefully we won't require masks,'' he said.
Last year's cup carnival was held when the country was coming out of lockdown. There was a limit on the number of patrons allowed on-course and all had to be seated.
The weather was one of the main reasons the club sought to move the carnival away from August. Strong winds lashed the Bushland Drive course on cup day forcing patrons to rug up.
The club was only permitted 500 patrons for the meeting, but Mr Coleman later admitted he didn't think many more would have been there because of the weather if it was open slather.
The Coffs Harbour Cup will be run on Thursday, August 5. The club has a meeting this Saturday but this has been limited to participants only.
Mr Coleman said betting turnover was down 35 per cent at the Grafton Carnival this month while attendances were down more than 50 per cent. This has been attributed to the COVID situation.
"We would have faced the same problems if our carnival was on next month,'' he said.
Mr Coleman added that due to restrictions it would have been unlikely Sydney jockeys or trainers would have travelled here for the cup next month.
Manning Valley races next Tuesday. Mr Coleman confirmed that patrons are still permitted into the course.