The happiest man in Cessnock is Steve Tapp, Racecourse Manager of Newcastle Jockey Club’s Cessnock Racecourse. The reason Tapp is on a high is that more than 75 millimetres of rain has fallen on the Cessnock track in recent weeks. The dam in the centre of the track now has sufficient water in it to allow Tapp to recommence irrigating the course proper. The dam has been dry for many months due to the drought.
Cessnock’s first ‘showcase’ race meeting on November 21 which featured the richest race ever programmed for Cessnock, the $50,000 Hungerford Hill Cessnock Cup was transferred to Newcastle. The recent stormy weather has ensured that Cessnock’s first race meeting in the New Year on Tuesday January 8 will go ahead in Wine Country. The NJC are preparing for a bumper year of racing at Cessnock. The three feature race days will be on Anzac Day, with the Jungle Juice Cup in October and the Cessnock Cup in November.
Robert ‘Pud’ Davies, the longest serving trainer at Cessnock spent two weeks in a Sydney Eye Hospital in December. ‘Pud’ returned home prior to Christmas and he is back at work. He has been training on the Cessnock track for 54 years and ‘Pud’ and his wife Sandra moved into their home on the edge of the Racecourse in 1984. ‘Pud’ has seven in work and on December 3 had five-year-old gelding Harry And The Duke break through for his first win at Taree at the juicy odds of $41.
The Davies stables long serving foreman Troy Close has also been in hospital with a heart condition. The former apprentice jockey is back on deck and in control.