Bowen gets the jump on TAB racing

Bowen horse races 2019


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Jockey Ashley Butler rides the Wayne Romfrett trained Cosmological to victory over 1200m in race seven at Ben Bolt Park, Bowen, on March 15. Photo: Saskia Vollema-Creek (Saskia Photography).

Jockey Ashley Butler rides the Wayne Romfrett trained Cosmological to victory over 1200m in race seven at Ben Bolt Park, Bowen, on March 15. Photo: Saskia Vollema-Creek (Saskia Photography).

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Bowen Turf Club has hosted its first horse races conducted with TAB status after flooding in Townsville forced the relocation.

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BOWEN'S turf club has hosted their first TAB sanctioned horse races in a windfall for the town.

Bowen was selected to host three of the four Racing Queensland meets that were scheduled for Townsville's Cluden Park in March, with the February flooding forcing their relocation.

Bowen Turf Club secretary Emily Harvey said she believed they were the first races conducted with TAB status to be held at Ben Bolt Park.

"There was talk that one was held about eight or nine years ago, but we can't find any record of it, so we are saying that this is our first," Ms Harvey said.

"While it has not been so good for Townsville, it has been a bit of a windfall for us."

Ms Harvey said Bowen had secured three of the four relocated races, with the first being held on March 2.

Following the success of that race meet, they were also selected to host races on March 15 and March 22.

"It has been a wonderful experience for us to be able to showcase the race track on national television and it was also televised on Sky One.

"It has been great for us, and great for the town.

"We had a lot of nominations from people in the Far North, that were able to come down as they were subsidised by Racing Queensland and it increased commerce in the town as well in terms of people needing accommodation."

Ms Harvey said the club had been in negotiations with Racing Queensland in a bid to secure permanent races on their calendar.

"We think it's been pretty good, we have had heaps of compliments from Racing Queensland, stewards, jockeys and trainers that are pleased with the condition of the track.

"We have been speaking to Racing Queensland and hope to attract additional, permanent races in 2020, so we see this as a trial to see how we go.

"We are hoping that if these are done quite competently we will see one or two moving forward."

Ms Harvey said the first race on March 2 was hugely popular being a Saturday, while last Friday's racing attracted a decent enough crowd.

The racing has been competitive, with jockey Ashley Butler taking out two wins on Friday, riding the Peter Fleming trained Gracie Belle to victory in race three, before winning race seven on the Wayne Romfrett trained Cosmological.

The racing this Friday, named the Industry Fire Services Race Day, will be the final TAB race before the normal country calendar resumes on April 6.

Racing is expected to resume in Townsville in April, once track maintenance is complete.

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