The Cloncurry committee have recognised just how important the social aspect of the racing industry is in the area and do not want their region to go without racing for potentially 12 months, the length of time the project is expected to take to complete once it is started.
They raced much of 2020 without crowds on course and think its best to delay the project so the locals can enjoy the racing this year.
“They rely heavily on these sorts of social events,” Daniels said.
“We did not want to put the community through no racing for maybe 12 months while we built the turf track.
“The community needs us to be up and running for the next year and then hopefully we can keep it on the table.”
Leading Mount Isa trainer Jay Morris, who has a Cleveland Bay Handicap winner on his resume, thinks a grass track in the north-west would be fantastic for the industry.
“It would be excellent if it does happen,” Morris said.
“They are confident as a club it will happen.”
Morris described Cloncurry’s committee as progressive and forward-thinking, always looking to improve their club and facilities.
Daniels is hopeful within the next three years, they will be racing on green grass at Cloncurry.
“We feel as though our area, the north-west and the horses, we need to keep upgrading our facilities and the opportunity to race on turf,” Daniels said.
“It will give us the ability to attract horses from Townsville and Cairns, further abroad and the long-term view can be having a feature event out here.”
The idea of the turf track originated from the Cloncurry Sewage Treatment Plant.
Officials at the plant contacted the race club and thought the racetrack would be an excellent place to put the excess water, originally thought to place the water in the middle of the racecourse.
But Daniels and his committee went a step further, believing they could use the incoming water to keep a brand new grass track in great condition.
“I saw it as a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity where the water has come available,” Daniels said.
Late last year, the club hosted its first ever TAB race day, with the Cloncurry Cup race meeting broadcast across Sky Racing channels Australia-wide.
Morris, who has trained five winners from his last six starters, rates Cloncurry as a place to race his team.
“It is a good track, it is well shaped, and every horse gets a chance,” Morris said.
“It is a good facility and the committee have done a mountain of work on it.
“The club is always improving things, every time I go there something new has happened or they have a new piece of infrastructure.”
Morris had Tango Rain start as favourite in last year’s Country Stampede qualifier from Cloncurry, where the gelding ran third carrying 64kgs.
Barcaldine trainer Todd Austin claimed the 2020 Cloncurry Cup with Eschiele, one of the gelding’s 12 career wins.
Cloncurry will race this Saturday before hosting another program in late May.
Cloncurry and District Race Club Fashions on the Field Coordinator Ele Avery said they were actively searching for more sponsors.