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   Past News 5th February 2011
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Note: Buchan Cup re-scheduled to February 19th 2011

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So you think you can tip a winner at the picnics ? They have annual awards for jockeys, trainers, horses etc. so why not one for the punters on the circuit ! Peter Bon's PicnicBet.com has offered sponsorship for the event and will provide the 1st prize of a Hisense LCD 26" TV. How to Play- Rules can be found under the Discussions Tab on the Picnic Racing Facebook page.

It is Free to enter so why not have a go and see who is the smartest tipster at the picnics.

The Bad Luck Continues.......

by John Kennedy
It was another sad outcome for the picnic calendar with the meetings scheduled for Buchan in east Gippsland on Saturday and Healesville on Sunday both needing to be abandoned due to the incredible rainfall that drenched the State and appears to have resulted from Cyclone Yasi.
The Buchan & Gelantipy Racing Club was scheduled to hold their annual picnic meeting last Saturday on the curiously named Canni Creek racecourse in East Gippsland.
The Club dates back to 1887 when it held its first race meeting on Boxing Day and that was its traditional date for many years.
I found a little history of the Canni Creek Races from 1887 to 1983 in a bookshop a couple of years ago and a great little read it is.
In fact in 1888 when the Club staged eight races the booklet records that a “hurry scurry” was held after the last with ten horses entered.
Apparently there was a protest second against first and “as it could not be decided the first and second prize money was divided”!
The Buchan Club apparently went into recess early in the 1900s and the booklet records that the picnic races resumed in February 1943 after the Committee “cleared and formed a racecourse (at Canni Creek) that had last been used over 43 years ago.”
It seems that the resurgence in the 1940s was in large measure assisted by the Bairnsdale Racing Club.
The booklet contains some great stories about horses winning three times in a day, of thoroughbred, hack, trotting and pony races and even a hurdle race being included on the program in the early days.
And of “patrons being provided with so much hop beer and other necessaries that the intense heat of the day was not felt.”
So for a Club with such a rich history and plenty of strong local support and with good fields for its annual picnic meeting, to see it having to be abandoned due to the weather was a sad outcome.
And for Healesville to lose another of its meetings, which also had good fields, was another unfortunate outcome.
Although the Club has been granted two new dates in March & April these will only partly make up for the three other picnic meetings lost this season to adverse weather conditions.
This coming Saturday sees the Cup meeting at Woolamai and it should continue the great success that the south Gippsland club has been having.
The following Saturday it’s back to Yea where the Yea St Patricks club will also hold their annual meeting.
I am sick of looking at the Bureau of Meteorology website but unfortunately it has almost been as important as doing the picnic form recently.
I caught up with a couple of the great picnic jockeys of the past at Yea the Saturday before last.
They were from the era when they were supposed to ride as amateurs (i.e. without payment!) and their names in the race book were officially preceded by Mr.
Mr Barry Williams and Mr Neville Pearce were a couple of the guns from the mid 1970s when I had two seasons as president at Healesville where they both rode many winners.
At that time most of the picnic Clubs didn’t have starting stalls and the races were run from open strand barriers.
Neville Pearce was the expert in getting a ‘fly’ from the start as he was a great exponent of the walk up starts, even on horses who weren’t known for their barrier behaviour.
Health has not treated either of these guys too well and they think it’s time that all the original amateur jocks had a reunion.
Names like Gary Hanlon, Shaughan Fox, Bruce Purcell, Quinton Scott and David Brown were mentioned along with a couple of other regulars who rode a great many winners in Reg Manning and Gavin Brady.
I reckon there will be some good stories to be told.
I had a word with Di Clover organiser of the Picnic Awards night that is to be held again at Amstel Golf Club on Saturday evening 28 May.
Di has agreed to have a look at what she can organise for the veterans.
The Awards night is a must attend function for the picnic racing community and I’ll have some more information about bookings for it in the next couple of weeks.
As per last year you’ll need to get your bookings in early.

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