Cup cancelled in another Benalla blow

BENALLA Racing Club was yesterday forced to abandon its cup meeting due to the weekend deluge.

Racing Victoria regional manager steward, Peter Ryan, had no hesitation in calling off the meeting after the track was drenched following 30 millimetres of rain on Saturday.

“We inspected the track this morning and galloped a horse across it, but unfortunately it was unsuitable for racing due to the amount of rain it had received,” Ryan said yesterday.

“Benalla has received 30 millimetres of rain in the past 24 hours and with that volume in a short period of time we would find it difficult to race on most tracks.”

The abandonment is another setback for the embattled club.

The meeting was to be Benalla’s first since an abandonment in March when a hole, caused by a damaged culvert, was detected on the outside of the track near the 1200-metre mark.

Club chief executive Brendan Storer said it was unfortunate for the club, which had worked hard to promote its cup day return.

“It’s just another setback we have to deal with,” Storer said.

“No one is to blame and it’s just bad luck.

“The track was perfect on Saturday morning and it will be perfect on Monday morning.

“A lot of hard work and effort has gone into the remedial works and an extensive return to racing program at Benalla so it’s disappointing that Mother Nature has halted the club’s return.

“We fully support the decision to call the meeting off, especially with our recent history.

“At the end of the day we are in the racing game and we want people to go home safe at night.”

Benalla has two more meetings programmed this year on November 11 and December 16 with the club hopeful of rescheduling its feature race meeting.

“The support we have had today has been phenomenal,” he said.

“We have had all different types of emotions and the only emotion we haven’t had is anger.

“Our sponsors and members have rallied behind us and while we’re devastated, their support is keeping us calm.

“We just have to keep it in perspective, that while it is frustrating and disappointing — it’s not the end of the world.”