Glen Innes jockey club receives $13,000 grant for a club face-lift

Glen Innes Jockey Club President Mark Ritchie with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall at the Glen Innes race course finishing post.
Glen Innes Jockey Club President Mark Ritchie with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall at the Glen Innes race course finishing post.

Glen Innes Jockey Club is set to build a new fence.

The Gwydir Highway fence which forms part of the western entrance to town is "decrepit and overgrown" and "a huge eyesore" according to club president Mark Ritchie. The club has won a $13,000 state government grant to clear the weeds and build a new fence on the open ground.

“It’s great to look out and not be looking at a forest of privet and hawthorn bushes,” he said.

It will mean a facelift for the entrance to town too, with Glen Innes Severn Council planning to install a broken blade from the White Rock wind farm in the area.

The Crown Reserves Improvement Fund grant will cost state taxpayers $12,698. The grant success was announced by local Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today.

“The Glen Innes Jockey Club is a superb facility, which plays host to one of the best country race days in the north every January, and this extra financial support goes a long way to keeping the facility ‘race ready’," he said.

To date, the NSW Government has invested $115 million across seven years into Crown Reserve projects, a media release said.

The Jockey club has only one race meet a year, the Glen Innes Cup, organised for early January.

Max McConnell, vice president of the Glen Innes Jockey Club said at the time they were interested in pursuing two or even three annual race meets.

“When I first came here in the middle 80s, they had 12 meetings a year. There was one a month - 8 TAB meetings, and four non-TAB meetings," he said at the time.

“We wouldn’t have a meeting in the winter months. It’s too cold.”

More than 3000 people attended the 2018 race meet and his estimate was 2019 attendance was down just 300 people or so.

Nonetheless bookies, food stands and the bar earned substantially greater takings, which he said could be used to justify additional meetings.

There have been race meetings in Glen Innes since 1857; the club is 161 years old.

The upgrade comes on top of existing works including extensive refurbishment and maintenance work carried out on both sand and grass tracks.