Races have been run in Berrigan since the 1890’s when they raced as the Berrigan Jockey Club. Records show that in the early days races were run “Sydney Way”, i.e. – clockwise. The Committee of the early 1900’s reversed the way of racing to “Melbourne Way” i.e. – anti-clockwise. In later years the Berrigan Amateur Turf Club was formed.
Although the present site was gazetted as a racecourse in 1898 it was not until 1904 that the present layout was begun. This co-incided with the formation of the Berrigan Picnic Race Club in 1949 and raced as such until 1969.
Racing flourished after World War 1 and a two-day meeting was held in conjunction with the Diggers Race Club. Then came the depression and all clubs were abandoned.
Fundraisings since 1940’s had been supported by members growing wheat crops planted in the centre of the course, although there was bad years this self-help venture, put valuable funds back into the club. In later years the Polocrosse Club have taken over the centre of the course for their club and the race club has turned to fund raising with a cattle project. This willingness to put in hard work and vision has lifted the standard of racing in Berrigan to a level to where it is one of the Riverina’s most respected courses.
There were a few race meetings held during World War 2, but the amalgamation of the Berrigan, Savernake and Gymkhana Clubs formed the Berrigan and District Race Club as is known today. The forming of the new club saw many hours of voluntary labour applied to establishing starting stalls, photo finish equipment and more recently new grand stand, Bar facilities, Dining room, Jockeys room Stewards Office and Secretary’s Office.
We understand the Berrigan Cup as such was first run in 1955, the winner “Belle Cavale” repeating it again in 1956. The owner and trainer J Farley and H McMeekin travelled from Bendigo on dirt roads to attend the races. In 1975, 1976 & 1977 “Double Cop” won the Cup owned by Mr & Mrs A Kelly, K Ryan and A.F. Honeychurch and trained by A.F. (Bert) Honeychurch.
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