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Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club

Buchan track scorched in bushfire blaze


Buchan in East Gippsland has been decimated by bushfire, and the region’s racecourse at Canni Creek hasn’t escaped the inferno.

The Buchan & Gelantipy Racing Club had been preparing to hold the 133rd Buchan Cup on February 15, but those plans are now delayed - with the winning post, callers tower and running rail barely standing after fire blazed down the home-straight.

Club Secretary manager, Ian Dunkley, said a decision on if or where the Cup would be run would be left until next week, with many in the community ‘still too raw’ to decide.

“We’ll definitely leave it up to a community decision, it would be great to have it as a fundraiser for the area and to lift spirits, but it will just depend on what the locals are keen on,” he said.

“I’ve had a number of clubs generously already call me to offer to hold the meeting so we’ll just wait and see.

“While the winning post and tower have been badly burnt, the jockeys room, offices and bar weren’t impacted so we’ll definitely be able to rebuild.

“We’re in recovery mode now, as is the whole region, but we’re not looking too far ahead as there’s still some forecast dangerous weather conditions later next week.”

Dunkley, who has been involved with the club for 17 years, lives in Lakes Entrance and says that while the damage to the racecourse is disappointing it’s nothing in comparison to how much so many others in the area have lost.

“So many livestock and properties have been destroyed, and in Buchan itself a man lost his life trying to save his home, it really puts things into perspective.”

It’s not the first time the Buchan Cup has been in jeopardy because of bushfire, in 2006 the event was moved to Bairnsdale for a similar safety precaution.

"Such is the random and indiscriminate nature of the fire disaster Australia is confronted with right now - pic of winning post at Buchan Racecourse - Buchan and Gelantipy Racing Club - Ironically the only time I have been on course was Black Saturday Feb 7 2009 - Was lucky then! — Greg Carpenter (@RVCarps) January 5, 2020"

Article by Kate Watts
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