The Moruya Jockey Club has been named the Country TAB Race Club of the Year at the 2017 Country and Provincial Racing Awards.
The award is designed to commemorate the club that has achieved excellence in the conduct of racing for the 2016/17 year.
The awards night was held on Friday, September 29, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, but Secretary Manager Brian Cowden was unable to attend due to a race meeting that day.
“I didn’t find out (about the award) until the next morning,” he said.
“I had some texts that were sent through at 10:30pm that night by board members that were up there.”
Some of the major criteria for the award included improvement of performance, community involvement, attendances, and quality of customer experience.
Mr Cowden was “pleasantly surprised” by the award.
“We were short listed as one of four clubs,” he said.
“Looking at the other three contenders, I thought we were a better than 25 per cent chance.”
Mr Cowden believes he knows why the club has been so successful.
“We’ve got really good patronage for a relatively small country town,” he said.
“We always get a decent crowd whether it’s a small Tuesday meeting in June or one of our big January meetings.”
This has allowed the Jockey Club to work on improvements to the facilities.
“I think there will be continuous growth and improvement,” Mr Cowden said.
“It’ll never be a Flemington or a Randwick, but I think we’ll be continuously improving the place and hopefully see the facilities being used more and more.
“We’re going to improve the member’s area over the next couple of months, and we have plans over the next 10 to 15 years to slowly but surely upgrade everything.
“We’ve also received a grant for $400,000 to completely upgrade the irrigation system.”
The award is a brilliant start to a busy period for the jockey club, who have a number of big meets on the horizon.
“We don’t race this year on Melbourne Cup day, but we’ll have our big Christmas Eve meeting in December,” Mr Cowden said.
“Then we’ve got the two big cups in January, the Moruya and Narooma Cups.”
Mr Cowden said a day at the races was suitable for everyone.
“We get punters who want to go the races and have a bet, right through to the general public who want to have a nice day out,” he said.
“They can dress up if they want to, or come out casual and have a picnic on the lawn.”