It's been a while between postings, but I thought I might use this thread again. I may start up the Select Punting website again too. We'll see how things pan out.
I've started off as CEO at the Stony Creek Racing Club now and its looking like both a challenge and also a lot of enjoyment are heading my way. I've always had interesting roles during my career but this opportunity is special - getting a chance for this sort of job in the racing industry, a passion for most forumites, is personally quite exciting.
The first obvious thing is that the weather will dominate my life:
Stony Creek is in South Gippsland and South Gippsland is one of the wettest areas around. It can also get windy. Well the last 2 days have proved that. Yesterday's wind storms caused a postponement of the Sale meeting (Sale is a bit north of Stony Creek - there is a range of hills and about a hundred kilometres between the courses). Not good news for Sale, but the wind dried things out here and let us give the course proper a nice mow ... thankfully, before the rain arrived - we got nearly half an inch overnight.
The wind yesterday dropped trees in the area & the drive to and from work involved dodging plenty of branches. Today's drive involved driving through a hail storm and plenty of water ... plus slowing down for a wallaby or two along the way. I live less than 40 kms from the course, but the drive will always be interesting, even if it is just the beautiful countryside.
I am trying to walk the course most days. It will help keep me fit, but also it will let me see what work needs doing around the place. For example, I noticed the plastic rail has come apart in the shoot at the top of the main straight & needs repair. And I'm looking forward to becoming a penetrometer expert over the next couple of weeks.
I was talking to the course curator today about a few things. His strategy leading up to a race day is interesting. We race in Summer and the track can dry out quickly, so he tries to get the track to a Dead 5 on race mornings and a Dead 4 as a standard thing. This means putting a lot of water on the place (we have 2 dams), sometimes at night if it is hot & windy. This sounds good to me if the weather is warm and dry, but worries me if we get rain in the lead up to a meeting. This place can get very wet and even a bit slippery very quickly.
He also mows the course quite short about 10 days before a meeting & lets it grow naturally until race day, when it should be about the right height to give a nice cushion. He has used this strategy over the last couple of years and has had good feedback from most trainers & jockeys. Mick Kent told him that he had never seen the place better - then again, he had just won the cup here, so was probably on a high. Still, Mick is an avid track walker.
Anyway, I'll definitely need to watch the weather.