Club Spotlight : Bowen

At the historic Ben Bolt Park in Bowen, trainer Andrew Cameron has free reign.

The New Zealand native can work his horses whenever he feels fit and however, he likes.

That is because for the decade Andrew Cameron has been living at the Whitsunday region town, he has been the only trainer based at the facility.

Over the decades there has been many a trainer with stables at Bowen, as their first recorded race meeting was way back in 1846.

But there has not been any for the five years before Cameron arrived and for the 10 years he has been there.

For anyone dreaming of becoming a trainer around north Queensland, Bowen would be an excellent place to set up camp – being within easy driving distance to major provincial centres like Mackay and Townsville.

That is a road the Cameron stable see plenty of, regular racing their horses at Mackay and Townsville, as well as going as far north as Cairns' Cannon Park.

With five non-TAB races on the program this Saturday, the only trainer who regularly uses the track says it is a track for all types of horses and was busy preparing the surface on Monday morning.  

"It is a very wide course, everything gets a chance here," Cameron said.

"Even from the 1000-metre before they get to the turn, if they cannot place themselves where they need to be, then they are in trouble.

"It is a very, very nice track.

"They can come from behind or lead.

"It has a beautiful cover of grass; it is looking really good at the moment."

Being the north Queensland wet season, Bowen has received its fair share of rain over the last week, which Cameron feels will have the track in outstanding shape come Saturday.

The track is expected be rated a Soft 5 come Saturday afternoon.

When it is not raining, the track has irrigation all around.

This week it is a non-TAB race day, but the Bowen Turf Club committee are already looking forward to a TAB date later in the year.

Club president Stephen Daley, who was on the committee for five years before being elevated to president, says a Saturday TAB day is significant for the country club.

"It is the first TAB Saturday our club has had that I can remember," Daley said.

In its heyday, Ben Bolt Park raced 26 times a year and will run three race days in the first half of 2021, with more likely to come in the back end of the year.

Bowen Turf Club's home has undergone several face lifts and modernisation projects over the last few years, as the committee seeks to retain the club's status as a premier race venue in Queensland.


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