DAY AT THE RACES: Hannah Phillips riding Great Grats took out race four.
DAY AT THE RACES: Hannah Phillips riding Great Grats took out race four. Ann Alcock

Day to remember at Taroom

THE Dawson Jockey Club has proved its mettle after facing some unexpected challenges at its Taroom End of Year Races last weekend.

Soaring temperatures meant the five races had to be brought forward, while a storm in the evening put a pause in the festivities.

Dawson Jockey Club president Graham Rewald said the race stewards brought forward the first race by an hour.

"(It) started at 12.30pm instead of 1.30pm and they ran them through in two hours, which is very quick,” Rewald said.

A Racing Queensland spokesman said the stewards decided to amend the timing due to high temperatures forecast.

"With the maximum temperature expected to be near 40 degrees on Saturday, the amended times aimed to ensure horses and jockeys were not exposed to racing during the hottest part of the day,” he said.

But Rewald said the club came up with an idea to keep the action happening.

"Because the races were run early, we ran about half a dozen foot races,” he said,

"It was just something the committee thought up at the last minute.

"There seemed to be people from all over Queensland running in them... it really caught the crowd's attention.”

More than 1000 people attended the races, staying into the night with live entertainment, even when a storm passed overhead.

"We got a storm about half past eight at night and that dampened things down a little bit for a while,” Rewald said.

"But once the storm passed and we got the music going again things went on as normal.

"We probably only had half an inch but it rained pretty heavy there for 10 or 15 minutes and very windy.”

Despite the challenges, Rewald said it was an excellent day of racing, with a strong field and a good track.

"Most of the races, the finishes were really close, that's always exciting,” he said.

"There's only a head and neck between some of them... point-two of a length, y'know that's not very far.”

Race One, the Utopia Stock Transport/Owen Brodie Memorial Benchmark 60 Handicap, was taken out by Dakota Graham riding Exstratum, while Melody O'Brien riding Humdrum snatched the win for race two, the Dawson RIV Prod/Top X/Landmark/ Sam Barlow Memorial QTIS Maiden Plate.

Vancouver Star, ridden by Robert Faehr, claimed victory in the third race, the Taroom Pharmacy/Bill Joynson Memorial Class B Handicap.

Race four, the Taroom Welding Worx/Des Johnson Memorial Benchmark 50 Handicap was won by Hannah Phillips riding Great Grats.

The final race of the day, the Leichhardt Hotel/Bob Scott Memorial Open Handicap was taken out by Les Tilley, riding Sheer Persistence.

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