THERE will be no gunning for gold at Gunbower in 2020.
On Tuesday, Gunbower Racing Club president Mick Farrant confirmed one of the region’s most popular bush picnic race meetings - the Gunbower Gold Cup - would not be run this year.
Last month, Farrant said the possibility of the event going ahead looked positive but the continued spread of COVID-19 into regional areas means the threat to community safety was too great.
“I'm shattered the event isn't able to go ahead this year,” he said.
“We appreciate everything Country Racing Victoria and Racing Victoria have done for us in the past few months. They really have waited until the last minute before making a decision.
“Three weeks ago, I honestly thought we were going to be in for a massive event. The way everything was trending it appeared as if we were going to be one of the first big events in the region.
“As disappointing as the decision is, you can understand why the decision had to be made.”
Farrant said the flow-on effect was just as devastating for Gunbower and the surrounding communities.
“Cup day is always one of the biggest of the year given the amount of people who come to town,” he said.
“It's very important to us because all of the community groups are able to get something out of it.
“It's disappointing they'll all miss out on their slice of the cake but as a community we will continue to support each other through this difficult time.
“Even if the event did go ahead, crowd numbers might have been down considering so many people aren't able to travel from interstate at the moment.”
This year's cancellation only compounds some of the bad luck Gunbower Racing Club has experienced in the past decade.
In 2018, the club's one and only meeting was moved to Echuca due to an unsafe track while in 2016 the event was cancelled due to wet weather.
“Sometimes you just have to shake your head at some of the things we've gone through,” Farrant said.
“But we always do find a way to bounce back.”
“I actually think to myself sometimes I might have put a ‘moz’ on the club,” Farrant joked.
Despite the news only just sinking in, Farrant is already looking forward to the 2021 running of the race.
“I'd like to think we'd be back bigger and better next year,” he said.
“The committee thought this year was going to be big but we're determined to carry that forward now.
“One of the best parts about country racing is that it is for everyone in the family. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
“Hopefully a lot of smaller clubs including ours can get a lot of spectators through the gates when everything does start to go back to normal again.”
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