New Years Day is a special day for Harness Racing enthusiasts in Tasmania, January 1st large crowds head to the St Marys racecourse for the Clubs once a year meeting.
2024 will see the return to the 1340-meter grass track after last year the meeting was cancelled because of water damage to the track.
The $14,000 Eric Bean Memorial St Marys Pacing Club the main event on the program is named in honour of Eric Bean who was a committee member for 55 years from 1958 to 2012, 52 years of those Bean served as Secretary of the Club.
Bean was an owner/trainer from 1954 to 2006 his best pacer was Chamfers Return who scored 12 Tassie wins, Bean was awarded the Edger Tatlow Medal in 2008 and in 2014 was inducted to the Tasmanian Hall of Fame.
The St Marys Racing Club first programmed a trotting race back in 1889 won by a trotter called Fairy. 1918 the Trotting Club took over the facilitate from the Race Club and the first Cup was run in 1926 won by Ford. One notable winner over those 97 years is multiple winner Speedy Ben (Express Byrd) who won the cup in 1973 and 1974, Speedy Ben competed in two Inter-Dominion’s 1973 and 1974 both won by Hondo Grattan. Speedy Ben won the Consolation Final both years.
Another notable winner of the St Marys Cup was Gorse Bush (Ticket To Heaven) in 2006, Gorse Bush of course is the dam of one of Tasmania’s and Australia’s best pacer Beautide. In 2015 Gorse Bush was crowned Australian Broodmare of the Year.
In 2024 the club is excited to be back racing after last few years with weather and Covid disruptions long time Secretary Craig Wood said “we are looking forward to New Years Day the club try to make it a family fun day with Raffles, Fash On Field Free raffle for the kids and much more”.
“This year we have a lucky racebook prize a two nights’ accommodation including breakfast at Country Club Tasmania valued at $600” he added.
St Mary’s has a population of only 738 according to 2021 Census but during the holiday season the area gets heaps of tourists and campers and that number swells.
The club has three bookmakers set to field on the day.
If you are looking for a wonderful day out for all the family head to St Mary’s on January 1, you will not be disappointed.