By KYLE GALLEY
Memories of the past era of trotting in the Latrobe Valley will be rekindled at the Warragul trots on Monday, December 13.
Each year the Warragul Harness Racing Club conducts the Traralgon Pacing Cup, a race formerly run at Glenview Park Racecourse until trotting ceased there in November 1995.
The feature race was reinstated on the local race calendar at Warragul in 2006, and now carries a healthy prizemoney cheque of $10,000 for competitors.
The first moves to establish a trotting club east of Warragul began in the mid 1960s, when a group of enthusiasts formed the Latrobe Valley Trotting Promotional Committee.
They recognised the lack of trotting tracks east of Melbourne compared to the north of the state, and also highlighted the large population base of the three Latrobe Valley cities, Moe, Morwell and Traralgon and their surrounding townships as a massive potential new audience for the sport in Victoria.
The promotions committee lobbied the Trotting Control Board, local councils and politicians continually in an attempt to gain a licenced club in the region.
Opening race meeting was staged at Traralgon on November 28, 1975, with the last meeting run just under 20 years later, when it was agreed that further racing be staged only at Warragul.
It had been a long struggle to that point by the Traralgon club, being the eastern outpost for the sport in Victoria, relying on locals and dedicated visitors to support and compete at their meetings, as they were a long way from the bigger, more established trotting regions in the state.
Many still involved in trotting fondly remember their trips to Traralgon, and, a quarter of a century after its closure, many still lament the loss of the club and racetrack to the sport in the region.
A number of participants who raced at Traralgon are still actively involved in the sport and Warragul Harness Racing Club will welcome some of the remaining stalwarts from the Latrobe Valley days to their race meeting.