Back at the races

After being deprived of the chance to attend race meetings for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spectators were able to be present at the six-event meeting held at the Kyneton racecourse on Friday.
The annual New Year’s Day race meeting is usually held at the famous Hanging Rock venue, but it was decided it was more practical to race at Kyneton with some pandemic restrictions still in force.
A maximum public attendance of 1000 was permitted, and racegoers were separated from industry participants.
Race Day packages were sold out in advance of the meeting, with attendees pre-registered.
“Everybody seemed happy to be able to get out and enjoy themselves today,” said Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club general manager Jon Dight.
The meeting ran smoothly with placid weather conditions, and the course broadcaster issuing an occasional reminder to attendees to observe social-distancing rules.
Some of the racegoers were racing club members and others who traditionally enjoy New Year’s Day out at ‘The Rock’.
It was a non-TAB six-event meeting, with small fields the order of the day and several scratchings.
Kyneton trainer Danielle Chapman won the first event with promising three-year-old Snappy Magnus, and Sutton Grange galloper Eitilt won the final event for Brent Stanley in the closest finish of the day.
Dight said a decision was “still pending” on whether the club would be able to conduct its drawcard Australia Day meeting at Hanging Rock.
“There are a number of factors to be weighed up,” he said, indicating an announcement was likely in the next week.
The Australia Day meeting, featuring the 2021 Hanging Rock Cup, is listed for Tuesday, January 26.
Also looming is the club’s Woodend Cup meeting, to take place at Kyneton on Saturday, January 30.
After the last race, the course commentator told patrons: “There’s a big chance of being back here on Australia Day.”

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