LEANNE Manning is an excited Tweed River Jockey Club secretary manager as the club’s annual Riverview Hotel Murwillumbah Cup meeting fast approaches.
She will be in control of her first Murwillumbah Cup come Friday week when the eight-race TAB program, with more than $180,000 in prizemoney to disperse, rolls around.
Manning, 40, was appointed to the TRJC secretary manager position on September 18 last year.
“Nearly 12 months now,” she said this week.
It’s been a steep learning curve for her. Previously she was a civilian employee of the Queensland Police for five years at Southport but she is a “local”.
She grew up at Fingal, a small seaside town not far from Murwillumbah, and while she went to school in Brisbane she calls the Northern Rivers her home.
That’s one reason why she’s excited about the 2018 Cup meeting.
Her link to the town and sport has been strong.
Another reason is the “challenge”.
“I’m loving it,” she said of the new job.
“It’s definitely been a challenge but I love the challenge”.
“Hopefully we’ll get plenty of people out here on Cup day (Friday, August 24).”
The Murwillumbah Cup meeting, as well as the TRJC, is promoted as a family orientated day and club.
“It’s where people can bring their kids and relax, knowing they are well looked after. Party Time Gold Coast will be on board for their first major event at the TRJC. They will have face painting, fairy floss, snow cones, popcorn and jumping castles and a fashion in the field for the kids as well. Chase and Skye from Paw Patrol will be visiting at 4pm. We definitely have enough to keep the kids busy so the parents can look forward to a relaxing day.”
There is live music can on the lawn with DJ Owen cranking up at 12.30pm while the Mangrove Jack Band starts up at 4.30pm to entertain the adults post-races and going until around 10.30pm.
There is plenty to do with MC Mark Forbes running the Fashions on the Fields and other fun activities for all ages.
Gates open at 11am on Cup day with local buses from the Murwillumbah CBD.
The TRJC also has some large groups such as a visit from patrons of the Nerang RSL, Burleigh Bowls Club and JH Williams Murwillumbah.
It’s all about providing a package for everyone to enjoy a big day out.
For Leanne it doesn’t stop there. She’s also involved in triathlons as the assistant race director with NXsports with the big Fun Run and Ballina Tri on the next day Sunday.
“It’s going to be a busy weekend,” she laughed.
Yes, there is more too.
The horses of course, they are the main reason for attending.
The $38,000 Riverview Hotel Murwillumbah Cup (1530m) is the feature race while the $28,000 TURSA Murwillumbah Newmarket (1200m) is the main support race along with a $22,000 Tyalgah Cup (2020m). All other five races are worth $20,000 apiece.
Murwillumbah is a popular venue with more than a dozen trainers operating out of the 1600m track.
That varies from one of country NSW’s leading trainers, Matt Dunn, who has around 80 in work “to small trainers with just one” Leanne said.
“They have all had some success of late,” she said Tuesday.
“Matt won a Highway in Sydney last weekend (Lifesaver) and then trained the trifecta at Lismore today. We have some very good trainers like Darren and Angela Graham, Kim Robbins, Carolyn Halliday.
“We have very good staff here too. They work very hard to provide the trainers with some very good facilities.”
She said existing sponsors such as the Riverview Hotel (Cup) and TURSA (Newmarket) are great supporters with TURSA providing staff to also help with the upkeep of the track while also looking after some new sponsors as well.
All in all Leanne Manning is catering for as many as she can, hoping her excitement channels across to the many racegoers, young and old, she hopes will arrive on Friday week.
“We just hope they all have fun,” she said.
Nominations for the Murwillumbah Cup meeting close 11am next Monday (August 20). Weights will be declared by 4pm Tuesday, August 21 and acceptances declared by 9am Wednesday, August 22.