Mindarie-Halidon Cup given go ahead

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Featured Home Page News, South Australia

Racing SA has reversed a decision to withdraw its support for the popular country race meeting, the Mindarie-Halidon Cup, held annually at Halidon on a racecourse surrounded by wheatfields four hours from Adelaide.

The organisation’s board has announced the race will run on Sunday, September 18.

Racing SA chief executive Nick Redin said “The event has attracted a crowd of 1500 to 2000 people in the past so it’s a huge community event, and provides an economic boost to the surrounding towns of the Riverland and the Mallee.”

Committee chairman Geoff Redden said his group since had “worked collaboratively” with Racing SA and Country Racing SA to secure the meeting’s future.

“We’ve been able to address the items that needed to be rectified to make sure that the track is suitable for racing, and that the event is well managed from the industry’s perspective.” Mr Redden.

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A popular country race meeting in the middle of the Murray Mallee has been given a reprieve by thoroughbred racing’s controlling body.

RacingSA has reversed a decision to withdraw its support for the Mindarie-Halidon Cup, held annually at Halidon on a racecourse surrounded by wheatfields four hours from Adelaide.

The organisation’s board has announced this year’s meeting will run on Sunday, September 18.

The backflip follows negotiations between Racing SA and a volunteer committee which runs the Mindarie-Halidon Cup over various issues including infrastructure upgrades and improved race-day management.

The Mindarie-Halidon Cup will run again this year after getting a last minute reprieve. Picture: Supplied

The Mindarie-Halidon Cup will run again this year after getting a last minute reprieve. Picture: Supplied

Racing SA chief executive Nick Redin wrote to the Mindarie-Halidon Racing Club in February, saying it would not be providing any financial or logistical support for this year’s event, suggesting instead it should be transferred to the Murray Bridge racecourse.

Mr Redin sent another letter in March, saying the club had to rectify 16 issues before Racing SA would reconsider it decision.

These included replacing a rusted top on a stewards’ tower, fixing barriers and railings, removing exposed bolts on fences, replacing chairs in a stewards’ room, cleaning showers in the jockeys’ room, updating an asbestos register, removing trip hazards on a stairway and improving the safety of barrier stalls for horses.

The crowd at the 2021 Mindarie Halidon Cup. Picture: Supplied

The crowd at the 2021 Mindarie Halidon Cup. Picture: Supplied

Committee chairman Geoff Redden said his group since had “worked collaboratively” with Racing SA and Country Racing SA to secure the meeting’s future.

“We’ve been able to address the items that needed to be rectified to make sure that the track is suitable for racing, and that the event is well managed from the industry’s perspective.”

Mr Redden said the Mindarie-Halidon committee had “provided the certainty that Racing SA needed to ensure that we’re here for the long term”.

“The event has attracted a crowd of 1500 to 2000 people in the past so it’s a huge community event, and provides an economic boost to the surrounding towns of the Riverland and the Mallee,” he said.

“I’m over the moon that we’ll be racing in September, and that the club’s rich heritage will continue.”

Mindarie Halidon Racing Club secretary Krystina Durdin and club president Geoff Redden with club members and supporters at its AGM. Picture: Paul Mitchell

Mindarie Halidon Racing Club secretary Krystina Durdin and club president Geoff Redden with club members and supporters at its AGM. Picture: Paul Mitchell

Mr Redin said the Mindarie-Halidon event covered a large region important to racing.

“We’ve been working with the club since January to help them understand what’s required for the industry to get behind them,” he said.

“The club has done a great job and has restructured how it operates as a committee, and addressed the ongoing concerns that Racing SA had.”

Mr Redin said he was “extremely happy” that racing had not been lost to the Riverland and Mallee region.

“We’ll continue to work with the club to maintain its presence in the area,” he said.

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