WOOLAMAI and District Racing Club (WDRC) is vowing not to give up on seeking permission to run another race meeting on New Year’s Day.
The January 1 meet this year was a major success, with over 2300 people wandering through the gate in near-perfect weather.
To WDRC president Rob Carmichael, talks of a repeat event the following year should have evolved naturally with Racing Victoria.
Unfortunately, the racing authority has remained firm in its decision not to let Woolamai have another run on the first day of 2016.
The new, finalised Country Racing Victoria calendar was released at the end of last month.
There will be five New Year’s Day race meets throughout Victoria – but Woolamai still isn’t one of them.
And to add insult to injury, Racing Victoria offered an additional, far less coveted date on Woolamai’s calendar, which has been accepted as little more than a consolation prize.
“They’ve given us April 9 and that will never be a big one here,” Mr Carmichael said.
“We didn’t even really want to accept it when it was offered because local footy would have already started by then and there isn’t as much interest in racing.
“I think they just threw it in to shut us up.”
But the club isn’t going to shut up, and they’ve enlisted the help of Bass MP Brian Paynter, who has been pushing for the race schedule to be reconsidered.
Mr Paynter said he has written to the Minister of Racing and Racing Victoria but is yet to receive “a logical explanation” as to why Woolamai can’t be included on the New Year’s Day list.
“I’ve just continued to follow this up because it’s just not good enough,” he said.
“They keep throwing reasons out like there being a lack of horses, jockeys and trainers – but nothing which has been enough of a reason to cut a meeting.
“This issue isn’t just about the club here at Woolamai, either; it’s about the community’s involvement.”
Indeed, WDRC and families in the area looking to do something on New Year’s Day aren’t the only ones who lose out – the last meet on January 1 was a huge fundraising success for several local clubs, including Wonthaggi Citizens’ Band, Kilcunda-Bass Cricket Club and Dalyston Football Club, all of whom run various bars and kiosks.
Mr Paynter said he isn’t going to let up on the issue until Racing Victoria says “yes”.
“I see it as being too much of a benefit to too many people,” he said.
Racing Victoria did not respond to a request for comment.