DESPITE the increasing threat of coronavirus, a good news story evolved on the Mid North Coast this past week when 1000 hay bales arrived in Wauchope as part of the Australian Turf Club (ATC) funded bushfire and drought assistance to racehorse trainers and farmers.
The funds were raised from the Racing For The Bushfire campaign and a special race meeting at Randwick held on January 25, and is now being distributed via the ATC Foundation. It provides hay for horses, livestock, and animals, as well as funding for fencing and buildings in local communities.
"There is $25,000 worth of hay - lucerne and oaten hay which is about 1000 bales here, plus there will be $15,000 for Blaze-Aid for fencing etcetera; and $20,000 to animal rescue organisation Fawna and its carers," said public officer of the ATC Foundation Steve McMahon.
"A total of more than $150,000 has so far been raised by the ATC, Racing NSW, raceday partners, individual donors and on-course donations during the Racing For The Bushfire Appeal".
A plethora of horse trucks, floats, and utes arrived in Wauchope from around the district to collect the much-appreciated fodder, however some scrambling to load their bales between showery weather conditions.
Secretary of the Wauchope Jockey Club, Debbie Prosser was on hand to help with the hay allocation.
"Faye O'Neill (vice president) and I went through all the bushfire victims around here and worked out who was the hardest hit; the ones that had fences destroyed and horses almost burnt, and we are giving them the most (hay); they are not over it yet - like the most of us," said Debbie.
The recipients were hugely grateful.
"It helps all the trainers in the area, as feed bills have gone through the roof, so 20 bales of hay is just great," said Port Macquarie trainer Marc Quinn.
Terry Evans, who prepares about 24 horses at Tuncurry, slept with his horses and almost lost his home to the fires last November.
"We are just thankful for the support that the ATC and Racing NSW have given us; we hit the drought, then we hit the fires, and now the heaps of rain, so expenses have just gone through the roof, so the hay is very welcomed," said Terry during the pick-up.
The Mid-North Coast hay-drop follows from other ATC drought relief funding already distributed to Dubbo, Tamworth, Moruya and Cobargo, and is next travelling to the Snowy region to spread support for habitat restoration and welfare.
One hundred per cent of the funds raised from the appeal through the ATC Foundation will be sent to bushfire affected communities and livestock.