Mother Nature delays day’s program

WODONGA’S Boxing Day race meeting was delayed almost 40 minutes when a thunderstorm brought a temporary halt to proceedings.

Horses entered in the fifth race had started filling the parade ring when Racing Victoria stewards ordered them back to the stables.

Heavy rain fell soon after, but stewards chairman Henry Brewer said the threat of lightning was the biggest concern.

After the storm passed the final two races were run and the meeting concluded 20 minutes later than the scheduled finish.

Strong winds sent racegoers scurrying from the temporary beer gardens set up on the front lawn area.

The short-lived dramas brought by Mother Nature wasn’t part of the pre-event planning by Wodonga and District Turf Club general manager Tom O’Connor.

“It wasn’t ideal, but everyone was very patient until it all blew over,” he said.

“Everyone is there to have a good time and catch up.

“As a club we’ve got to make sure we foster that and set the facility up for them to do that.”

One of the innovations was the creation of a temporary bar on the home straight.

“The deck worked a treat,” he said.

“It spread the people throughout the course.

“The bookies ring was still busy, but wasn’t uncomfortable.”

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