The Meekatharra Race Club is a horse racing club in Western Australia’s Mid-West region; approximately 750km’s north from Perth or 400km north east from Geraldton.
The Club was formally incorporated in 1911, but has a history that dates back further.
We meet annually, over the WA Queen’s birthday long weekend (September), during the Meekatharra’s Outback Festival, with two meetings – The Meekatharra Cup on the Saturday and the Meekatharra Sprint on the Monday.
Once we were even called “the races at the end of the universe” …
These days the track has food stalls, large screen TV showing the football, a licensed bar and betting available as well as a free bus running to/from town to the track from start to stumps, with evening entertainment provided by a DJ and a rockin’ live band.
2015 Race Tower Replacement
With support from Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) the Race Club is proud to announce the completion in 2015 of a new three story race tower.
The tower is fully enclosed, with full safety railing and platforms on the external staircase and now has power to all floors.
With the assistance of a large group of individual volunteers and businesses the tower has been designed, fabricated, painted and installed locally.
The new tower provides a significant upgrade in amenity for race day officials and is considered a significant achievement by the Club.
In late 2015 the tower will be officially opened and dedicated as “The Bell Tower” in honour of Guy Bell (1923 – 2014) a Meekatharra Race Club Life Member and long standing community member.
Guy was locally famous for coming to the track year in year out as the time keeper. As time moved digital Guy still attended every meeting and took his place in the tower stop watch in hand. It was noted that Guy was never more than 1 second out, using his beautiful manual stop watch, from the digital clock.
The Race Club wish to thank the Bell Family for allowing us to honour Guy with the dedication of the new race tower.
2014 Race Track Resurface
The Club applied for and received a grant from the WA State Government’s Racing Infrastructure Grants Program (RIGP) and Royalties for Regions.
The funds have allowed the Club, with testing and works done by the Shire of Meekatharra, to fully resurface the track with a new less clay based soil mix. Extensive testing on different mixes was carried out by the Shire prior to the works ensuring the best mix for the conditions in Meekatharra.
This is great news for the trainers, the horses, the jockeys, and with the expected increase in field numbers, great news for punters.
You can read the ABC Rural article and hear the interview with Lucie Bell and Club President Peter Clancy here
2014 Race Meet Details
The 2014 Sandfire Meekatharra Cup was a Benchmark 62+ Handicap for Three-Years-Old and Upwards, run over 1850 metres at Meekatharra. The winner of the 2014 Meekatharra Cup was Hinzley, who was trained by D L Casey and ridden by Jordan Turner.
The 2014 Cup was complemented with four supporting races.
The winner of the 2013 Meekatharra Cup was Zeronimo, who was trained by Graeme Hammarquist and ridden by Sasha Starley. Previous winners include Catchphrase in 2012, Racso in 2011, Magic Illusion in 2010, Callistene in 2009, Omdurman in 2008 and Saratoga Power in 2007.
Previous winners include Racso in 2012, Pockets in 2010, Wing O’ Pleasure in 2009 and Blue’ll Do in 2008. The Meekatharra Sprint was not held in 2011.
The Meekatharra Sprint and the Meekatharra Cup Carnival’s heritage goes back to at least as early as 1905.
The success of the 1907 race meet was heralded in The West Australian:
“The Meekatharra races held yesterday were a great success. There was a record attendance, big fields, and, good racing. Betting honours were equally divided between punters and bookmakers. Everything went off without a hitch. The running of the horses gave every satisfaction to the public, with the exception of Comet’s performance in the Fenian Handicap, when he seemed to be very badly handled.”
The End of the Earth
Are we or are we not at the end of the earth out here in Meekatharra? We think not. But back in 1977 when Malcolm and Tammie Fraser were campaigning for Malcolm’s election their plane had cause to put down in Meekatharra for mechanical assistance. The story goes that Tammie referred to Meekatharra as “the end of the earth” and it was reported, nationally. Now the locals here not being slow to see a great opportunity, and wanting to reassure all that the earth did in fact not end at Meekatharra but life was rather good, invited Mrs Fraser to return to Meekatharra in 1978.
In 1978 Mrs Tammie Fraser so returned to Meekatharra as the guest of the town, and to present the Meekatharra “end of the earth’ cup at the 1978 races. For the rest of the story and all the details see this article from the 25th October 1978 edition of the Women’s Weekly.