Leading in to this weekends Jamestown Cup, we had the opportunity to speak with club Chairman, Phil Dibben about some of the history around the mid-north club.
The first recorded race meeting held at Jamestown was in 1875. Other meetings were held in 1885, 1886, 1887, 1889, 1891, and 1895 before racing became a permanent annual fixture in 1897. Race meetings have been held continuously at Jamestown since 1897 (except for a short period during the war years – when racing was banned across the State).
The Club’s 1910 meeting, although unremarkable at the time, would prove significant in terms of its impact upon Australian racing history. It was at this meeting that an amateur owner/rider by the name of James Martin Cummings would bring his mare Myrtle for the Belalie Stakes over 6 furlongs.
Jim Cummings had just travelled from Alice Springs to Eurelia (north of Orroroo) with the mare when he noticed an upcoming race meeting being advertised for Jamestown. He entered the mare and duly won the seven sovereign prize. For Jim Cummings, his win at Jamestown with Myrtle was his first as a trainer.
That win would propel him on a career as a racehorse trainer that would culminate with a win in the 1950 Melbourne Cup with Comic Court and give inspiration to his son, James Bartholomew Cummings, to also seek a career in the racing industry. In every sense, the Cummings racing dynasty had its origins at the 1910 Jamestown race meeting.
The Jamestown Racing Club continues to be a strong Club holding our Annual Cup Day on the Saturday of the October long weekend. This is well attended by both locals and visitors, often hosting Hen’s Shows, Buck’s Shows, and end-of-season football and netball trips in our marquees. It does, however, continue to be a day enjoyed by family groups also.
Unfortunately, our 2020 Cup Day had to be cancelled, like so many other events. We also had to cancel our 2016 meeting due to flooding.
There have been many improvements made in recent years including new stables, new judges tower, purchase of an aerator to keep upgrading the track, upgrade of running rails, the addition of an external office onto the office block, and extension of the mounting yards.
These have all been funded through the support of our many sponsors and grants from Racing SA. There have been many volunteer hours put in by our Committee and other community members for which we are extremely grateful.
In 2012 we were approached by Elsewhere Clay Target Club asking if they would be able to share the use of our facilities. This was agreed to and formalised on 1st January 2013 and has been an excellent partnership for both Clubs, seeing Elsewhere Clay Target Club using the facilities most weeks of the year.
Elsewhere Clay Target Club has significantly added to the facilities providing both funding and manpower to enable us to add a kitchen to the shed, cement both the shed and kitchen floors, build a new bar, and put additional windows in the shed, while also generally maintaining and keeping the surrounds in excellent condition. Hopefully, this partnership will continue for many years.
Recently the NBN contacted us seeking permission to build their tower on our land, this was agreed to and the tower was built at the end of 2017. The rent that is paid annually to our Club will help us to continue to run our race meeting and to maintain our facilities.
The annual Cup Day is a big event for Jamestown and I am sure that it will continue to bring visitors to the area for many years to come.
The 2021 Jamestown Cup will be held on October 2nd, 2021.Tickets are still available via Moshtix