GIDDY UP: Horses and their jockeys crossing the line for the first race at the Kumbia racetrack. Picture: Laura Blackmore
GIDDY UP: Horses and their jockeys crossing the line for the first race at the Kumbia racetrack. Picture: Laura Blackmore

Wind fails to deter punters at Kumbia races

FORCEFUL gusts of wind didn't deter keen race goers attending the Kumbia Races held on Melbourne Cup day.

Race club secretary Wendy Mathews said she had never experienced such horrendous weather at a race meet.

"I was a bit concerned earlier in the day that the officials might call of the races," she said.

"Despite the wind, it was a really good day.

"The only thing that we had to change was the Fashions on the Field.

"We had to host them in the luncheon hall because it was too blowy outside."

Mathews said another challenged they faced was the struggle to get enough jockeys to fill out the races.

"There were quite a lot of race meeting across southeast Queensland," she said.

"We had five female and three male jockeys compete in five races held on the day.

"That has changed around in recent years as it used to be quite male-dominated."

Senior jockey Sally Sweeney was one of females to compete at the annual event and won the last event of the day, the Country Cup Challenge Qualifier.

Sally Sweeney heading out for the first race of the day at the Kumbia Races. Picture: Laura Blackmore
Sally Sweeney heading out for the first race of the day at the Kumbia Races. Picture: Laura Blackmore

After completing four years of work as an apprentice jockey, she said she still enjoyed returning to the country to race in the bush.

"I grew up in a small country town in NSW called Jerilderie," Sweeney said.

"My dad is a trainer and both of my parents used to be jockeys.

"Now I can be my own boss and have been basing my schedule around bush meets.

"I love racing in the country because of the friendly atmosphere and they are always a lot of fun."

Sweeney moved from Toowoomba to Brisbane five months ago and is currently working at Deagon Racecourse.

She will compete in the country race finals held next month in Brisbane.

As the cup wrapped up, Mathews said next year would be a momentous occasion for the club as it will be the 50th Melbourne Cup race meet held at Kumbia.

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