A bit of initiative from the Benalla Racing Club was enough to save its Christmas race day from the weekend’s big wet.
The club had been scheduled to hold its L.J. Hooker Benalla Twilight Christmas Party race day on Saturday.
But the Bureau of Meteorology forecast a biblical amount of rain for the region.
With more than 200mm of rain expected to fall on the racecourse before the races, the club got on the front foot and asked Racing Victoria to reschedule the meeting.
The decision was made last Thursday morning to postpone the meeting by a week, and the club will throw open the gates on Saturday with free entry.
Benalla Racing Club manager Cameron Symes said making the call early saved the race day.
‘‘When we saw the forecast for the weekend we knew the race day would be in strife.
‘‘With that amount of rain, it would have been very unlikely that we could provide a safe racing surface. Also for our patrons, they would have needed to be looking after their families and their homes in case of flooding,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re grateful to Racing Victoria that we were able to reschedule the meeting and we’re really looking forward to Saturday.’’
The weekend’s rain saw race meetings also abandoned or transferred from Warrnambool, Healesville and Traralgon.
Saturday’s racing won’t be the only attraction at the racecourse, with food trucks also setting up across the weekend.
Crowd favourites including Gringo Grill, Billy Van Creamy, Taco Junction and Elephant Rock will set up at the racing club.
There will be live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, as well as kids’ rides and amusements.
Saturday’s race meeting is a twilight meeting, with the first race scheduled to jump at 3.45pm and the last at 7.30pm.
Symes said the race meeting would be a relaxed way to spend a Saturday evening.
‘‘A lot of the Christmas parties from last week had to make other plans, so this Saturday is more for people to just rock up on the day and enjoy themselves,’’ he said.
‘‘We have umbrella packages available but otherwise it’s free entry and people can come along and have a good night out.’’