This year marks the 56th running of the Maitland Inter City Pace. The race first ran in 1962 and has only missed two years since its inception.
The brain child of the then Maitland Trotting Club Secretary, Bert Greedy, the race has become the event that race owners, trainers and drivers of the region strive to win. “They all want that trophy on the mantle,” says club secretary, Wayne Smith.
“The Inter City Pace has become our flagship event, something that identifies the club, the venue, the area. It’s given the Club a purpose, something to work for, something to strive for.
“A race with this much history simply can’t be lost for the sake of the club, the region, or the harness racing industry.” He added.
The club is managed by a small but very dedicated band of volunteers and has been lucky enough over time to secure a long tenure from its management, who all hold the Inter City Pace close to their hearts.
The same can also be said about the small group of people who while are not part of the management team attend each and every meeting and assist in the preparation of race meetings.
“Without these devoted people the place simply doesn’t exist. All of us live, eat and breath the Inter City Pace each year and the work doesn’t stop throughout the year. Whenever we are talking about race meetings everything revolves around the Inter City Pace and branches off from there.”
The race itself has attracted contenders from the local area, all regions of New South Wales and occasionally from Queensland and Victoria. This years series is expected to be no different.
“That’s how far the interest spreads, it comes back to how well recognised it has become, throughout the years we have attracted horses racing through their grades and going onto bigger and better things. Its often a stepping stone for the horse that has ability.”
The Inter City Pace is a two night carnival, heats run over one weekend, with the final running on the following weekend, both meetings always attract a strong support program.
For spectators its like an annual reunion, as loyal race fans gather year after year.
“We have spectators that will reminisce about previous Inter City Pace, some will be able to recall every race, and some haven’t missed one since it first began. For those coming along for the first time, it’s chance to experience what all the hype is about and hopefully get hooked enough to be back for each one hereafter,” enthuses Wayne.
“You’re right up close to the action, standing on the fence the noise and the speed of the horses racing past really makes feel like you’re a part of all of that track action.
“It honestly makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”