‘One helluva party’: Prenter

When Bong Bong went “bang bang” last Friday the wild electrical storm failed to dampen the spirits of the 5000 plus party goers.

This is not a race day, as such, but one helluva of a party.

Geoff Prenter

Black Friday it became, but the resplendent colors worn by the ladies would have had a rainbow blushing.

The fashions rivalled anything Royal Randwick or Flemington could neon. As I perused the small fields I looked for a horse named Spray Tan out of Can from No Orange Streaks. Come hell or high water, and there was an abundance of both, Spray Tan stole the show.

No complaints from this former city slicker who previously visited the Prince of Picnic Racing 40-years ago with my close mate, Max Presnell, turf expert of the Sydney Morning Herald.

That was the year when Bowral and neighbouring towns were booked out. After furtive pleas, Max and I finally jagged a room, the cellar in the then dingy depths of Bundanoon Hotel.

It soured my desire to return but now that I am a local resident and still harboring a ‘love of the punt,” I eagerly accepted an invitation from Southern Highlands News editor Jackie Meyers to sample the bill of fare. Food, drinks and company - as good as it gets.

Bong Bong is unique in Australian racing. This is not a race day, as such, but one helluva of a party.

Four horse fields don’t invite heavy wagering but still two well-stocked betting rings operate. Forty years ago I recall just two bookies, each offering identical odds!

The atmosphere is so easy-going that you almost forget there are four-legged animals doing their best, trying to emulate the two-legged variety who do command undivided attention.

The day starts with pomp and ceremony, exclusive to Bong Bong.

Light Horse Brigade reps, vintage cars, Scottish pipe band-all oozing warmth and friendliness. Marquees in record numbers assure the tradition continuing.

I have learned many times in my sporting media career never meddle with tradition. I was aghast when the Bong Bong Cup was cancelled due the state of the track.

“Will it be rescheduled,” was the innocent enquiry. “Don’t meddle with tradition,” was the sharp retort.

Well done to the committee and volunteers. Sadly, today in society there are not too many ‘good things.”

Bong Bong Picnic Races is a “good thing,” storm or no storm…