FOR the first time in 167 years, the Wallabadah Cup meeting has been called off due to ongoing drought conditions.
A staple on the region's racing calendar, the New Year's Day event is the Wallabadah Jockey Club's only meeting for the year.
It is also one of the most anticipated events for spectators, who flock to the venue from across the region.
The decision to cancel the annual showcase comes after several other tracks, such as Armidale and Tamworth, have had to cancel or relocate race meetings for the same reason.
The club took to social media to announce the decision to racing fans.
"As some of you may have heard along the grapevine, we regret to inform you all that due to the drought conditions our 2020 Wallabadah Cup race day has been cancelled," the post read.
"In the past, we have had to cancel our day due to it being too wet, but this is the first time in our 167-year history, that we have had to cancel due to it being simply too dry."
Club president Tim Mackie said went the decision "had not come lightly" and was a true reflection of the challenges of the conditions in the region.
"We consulted with Country Racing NSW, who were very supportive, and we it was decided the best course of action for the safety of the jockeys and the horses was to cancel this year's meeting," Mackie told the Leader.
"A lot of factors went into the decision, and while it is disappointing, there are far worse things happening around the region at the moment, such as bushfires.
"The meeting does hold a unique place in everyone's hearts and no one is as disappointed than our club, as we are completely a volunteered-based club but we will move on.
"But I'm sure we will be back bigger and better than ever in 2021."
Tamworth trainer Sue Grills described the cancellation as "a real shame" and suggested relocating the meeting to Quirindi.
"This is a horrendous drought and I think all of the local jockey clubs are doing the best they can given the circumstances," Grills told the Leader.
"I was really surprised the meeting wasn't shifted over to Quirindi.
"It's close by, the track is in pretty good condition given the current conditions and I think it would have made for a pretty nice day."
The story Scratched: Wallabadah Cup meeting cancelled due to drought first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.