By Jordan Gerrans
Long drives with a float on the back is commonplace when it comes to racing horses in regional areas around Queensland.
For a club like Tambo and District Race Club in the Central West country racing association of the Sunshine State, they feel they are as central as it gets – while also not really being close to any other towns.
There are no trainers and horses based at Tambo and there has not been any for over a decade.
When they do race this Saturday, stables from as far and wide as Blackall, Roma, Emerald, Longreach, Barcaldine and Charleville are expected to converge on Tambo – described as the oldest race track in Queensland, west of the Great Dividing Range.
That collection of towns are spread out in every direction from Tambo, coming from three different country racing associations.
Former Tambo and District Race Club president Bill Rogers says their meetings bring together a cross-section of horses, trainers and jockeys that are rarely together at other tracks around Queensland.
“We are central and drag horses from each area – that is a good thing about our club as far as we are concerned,” Rogers said.
“There are some that come on the bad roads, but they will come.
“These days you have to travel to get races, four hour drive and then that way going back, it is not that bad compared to what it used to be.”
Tambo race twice a year now in 2021, with Saturday their feature meeting of the year, which includes the $12,000 Tambo Cup.
It will be a six-event non-TAB program instead of the regular five races for a bush meeting.
One of the trainers who will make the long trip to Tambo is Emerald horseman Ross Meek.
He boasts an outstanding record at Tambo over the years, winning two races from just four starts, including the famous Cup, which was won a decade ago.
“We won the Cup one year, which was great, in 2011,” Meek said.
“It was an old horse called Seekawinner, that I bought off another trainer.
“Bound to Me, a horse I have got now, it has won there before as well.”
Meek trains a small team of two horses at Emerald, declaring he is always on the hunt for QTIS eligible gallopers.
While his home track is Emerald, Meek enjoys a trip to Tambo and plans to start both his horses this coming weekend.