“Racing has played a significant role in the social, sporting and economic life of the community,” the club’s committee declares on their website.
“The races are well attended with between 600 and 1000 people and there is a good variety of entertainment for the whole family.”
Hay, who is the reigning winner of the local Cup, is the only trainer based around the town these days.
As Rewald noted, just over 30 years ago, it was a busy facility for bush trainers, jockeys and horses.
But, now at the start of 2021, Hay only has a handful in his stable and trains on his own property, not the Taroom track itself.
“Back in the 1980s, racing was really strong here in Taroom,” Rewald said.
“We probably had seven or eight trainers and half a dozen jockeys back then, maybe 50 odd horses.”
Despite having just, a population of 869, Taroom, which is split between the Shire of Banana and the Western Downs region, has a rich history in racing.
A horse by the name of Heelaman, which was owned and bred by a Taroom man, Mr. A. J. Williams, ran in the 1952 Melbourne Cup, which was taken out by Dalray.
Heelaman was trained in Brisbane by Arthur Noud before heading to Victoria for the race that stops the nation.
Another piece of Taroom racing folklore is old warhorse Storm Breaker.
Around 20 years ago, the bay gelding won a remarkable 54 races from 112 starts and was trained by Taroom local Billy Cogoll.
As well as being president for many a year, Rewald also trained in his own right, with all five of his sons going on to become jockeys.
On the other side of 80, Rewald has been involved with the club in some capacity since 1973, spending 14 years as the president, and has recently stepped down and is just helping on the committee these days.
Ironically, local cattle farmer and trainer Hay (pictured below) will not have a starter from his own stable at Taroom’s races this Saturday.
When the December 26 races were washed out, so was that racing program for the five-event card, with this Saturday’s racing program not being suitable for any in his yard.
Instead, Hay will look to Gatton on Sunday where he will start stayer Bonville.
Hay has been training for over 20 years, is a two-time winner of the Taroom Cup, the first being in 2011 as well as last year’s triumph, which sadly for his friends and family was run behind closed doors to the virus restrictions.
He constantly has two or three horses in work, including Galapagos, who went around in the 2020 Country Cups Challenge final at Doomben.
Handed a wide gate, Galapagos finished 12th of 15, but that did not matter for Hay and his followers back in the Shire of Banana and the Western Downs region, they were just proud to see Taroom represented on the big stage.
“It was a thrill, the horse did not figure in the finish, but it was still great to race the horse there,” Hay said.
“I had raced a horse in Brisbane before, many years ago, but this was just as good.”
Club spotlight will be a regular feature that shines a light on the unique and individual racing clubs across Queensland.