Ballina Cup off: Lismore might be a starter
By HELEN JACK
BALLINA races are off. And there's a good chance the Lismore Cup won't be running either.
The announcement yesterday of Ballina Cup's postponement was described as inevitable by Ballina Shire mayor Phillip Silver during a media conference at Ballina Shire Council chambers.
A new date for the Ballina race day has not yet been set.
While Lismore Race Day's postponement is not official, the likelihood of it happening was made known at a Lismore City Liquor Accord meeting yesterday.
Lismore Turf Club secretary manager Michael Timbrel said a decision would be made on Monday.
"We are still hopeful, but even if we do postpone it we still have to continue planning for the event at a later date." he said.
"It's been a nightmare. We started planning the event four months ago and the equine influenza (EI) hit just as we were going into full scale preparation. It's exactly the wrong time."
Cr Silver said the outbreak of EI and restrictions placed on moving horses had left the Ballina Jockey Club no alternative but to postpone the event.
"The club intends to re-schedule the Ballina Cup to a date in November, although that will be subject to a finalisation of the current quarantine restrictions and approval from the governing bodies," he said.
Cr Silver called on the whole community to turn out in strength to support the cup when a new date is set.
He said the half-day public holiday would be transferred to the new Ballina Cup date.
Ballina Jockey Club secretary manager said the decision to postpone the Ballina Cup was made at a meeting with the club's board of directors and representatives of council on Monday night.
"We held off making the announcement until we could find out if we could transfer the half-day public holiday to a new date," he said.
"We also needed approvals from Racing NSW.
"At this stage we are confident of staging the event in November. We could have picked October but we could still run into problems. By mid-November we are hopeful EI will be stood on its head."