The Louth Turf Club Committee made the difficult decision early this week to cancel this year’s Louth Races event.
Louth Turf Club president Jim Strachan said it had been an incredibly hard call to make to cancel the popular annual event, which is a great economic boost not only for the Louth community, but also for the wider region.
“We have hung on as long as we possibly could, but the window was closing for us to put together a successful race meeting,” Jim told The Cobar Weekly on Monday.
He said as COVID-19 restrictions began to slowly unwind, they had hung onto a glimmer of hope that they could still run the races to give everyone an event to look forward to.
But with less than two months to go, and not knowing how much further restrictions would be eased by their August 8 race date, Jim said the decision to cancel was their only option.
He said in past years, well before two months out from race day, a number of things would already be booked.
“We haven’t booked our ablution blocks (toilets and showers) nor our security.
“We haven’t liaised with the police because we haven’t been sure what’s been going on.
“We usually hire a generator and lighting from out of Cobar.
“We hire other signage to promote our sponsors, that hasn’t been put in place.
“I have just finished talking to the caterers and they fully understand.
“Other than that we have left a lot to the last minute but we just don’t know where we stand,” Jim said.
“And if we are allowed a crowd, we don’t have the facilities nor the man power for social distancing rules. We just would not have been able to do it.”
He said the health of visiting punters, and all those living in Outback NSW was of paramount importance.
“We do not want to put anyone’s health at risk and we especially want to protect our own district and place the needs of our local communities first at this time.”
Jim said the option to postpone wasn’t considered by the committee.
“We are entrenched in our date, we’ve had this date forever, everyone knows our date.”
Jim’s been involved with the Louth Turf Club since 1982 and the rule has always been if they get washed out (and they have been three times since 1982), it’s cancelled.
“We are very disappointed that we can’t race.
“We look forward to being back bigger and better in 2021.”