Anzac racing returns to Moe

MOE Racing Club’s biggest meeting tomorrow since its track redevelopment will be a major step to restoring the venue’s reputation and creating a new identity as an industry leader.

The first Anzac Day races at Moe in two years will feature a seven race card on what is shaping as a dead five or good four rating, despite recent rain, testament to the vast improvement of the now all-weather facility.

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to really demonstrate what we’re offering on course here with the new facilities and new track,” club spokeswoman Marnie Ballard said.

“The track is in superb condition. We’re at a dead five at the moment, which before the track was upgraded would be a heavy with the amount of rain that we’ve had; it can hold up to any amount of rain.”

A good forecast has the club hopeful of up to 3000 patrons, following two successful midweek meetings to baptise the new StrathAyr track.

Racing manager Mark Hill, whose former role as a stipendiary steward saw him forced to cancel many Moe meetings prior to the upgrade, said the transformation was incredible.

“Unfortunately I had to call a lot of them off… they called themselves off really; you’d get here and have a look at it and the place was underwater,” he said.

“(A successful meeting) would be huge for our profile – our profile had taken a battering and we don’t get away from that.

“The place has come a long way… this is our biggest day for a long time.”

Huge nominations, upward of 50 for several races, meant full fields across the board when acceptances were made yesterday.

Local trainers Peter Gelagotis, Catherine Martindale, Cameron Templeton and Alison Bennett will all feature, with all four nominating nags in race four, a 1200-metre handicap.

Paul and Tracey Templeton have also nominated two runners in race two, Balmodena and Wellily.

Mr Hill said trainers had benefited from the track upgrades and training facilities, along with nine Pakenham trainers who opted to temporarily relocate to Moe rather than Cranbourne while awaiting the development of Tynong’s new track.

Children’s activities including foot races, cricket, football, rock climbing, pony rides, a giant obstacle course, an animal farm, face painting and more will be held on the day.

Gates open at Moe Racecourse at 11am tomorrow, with a flag raising ceremony to kick off proceedings at noon.

The first race is 1.20pm and the last race is 4.55pm.