Commemorative horse race planned for CY O’Connor Reserve delayed at least a year


Part of CY O’Connor Reserve in North Coogee.                      d458140
Part of CY O’Connor Reserve in North Coogee.                d458140

A commemorative horse race organisers had hoped to run at CY O’Connor Reserve in October will be delayed at least a year.

But proponents of the race have secured $7000 funding from the City of Cockburn for a plaque highlighting the history of the area and support for a family fun day.

The heritage-listed site hosted the first official horse race in WA in October 1833 and it remains a popular exercise area for trainers and riders.

Local publisher Carmelo Amalfi, supported by stable owner Terry Patterson, had hoped to hold the celebratory race on the 183rd anniversary on October 2.

He talked up the national attention likely to be generated from the event during the City of Cockburn’s monthly council meeting in early August.

The race day was to include the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the trainers, riders and horses which have used the beach area over the past 183 years and a family fun event. But the old Wyola wreck in the middle of the preferred course proved a sticking point in the plan.

In a report backed by Cockburn councillors on Thursday night, a city officer said the race would have to be delayed.

But councillors did support an application for $7000 funding for a plaque and family fun day, with that to go ahead this year as planned.

“Due to the short timeframe until the proposed event date on October 2 and the current constraints posed by the location of the Wyola wreck it is recommended that support be given to the family fun day and plaque unveiling components of the event, with consideration given to a horse race re-enactment being held in 2017,” the report read.

Mr Amalfi said he was delighted at the decision which comes 30 years after the Patterson family first raised the proposal to acknowledge the continued use of the historic beach.

Alternatives put forward included moving the race north or south of the wreck and holding it between the jetties at Coogee Beach and Woodman Point.

Mr Amalfi was happy to delay the race, believing the original location was best suited.

“I think if it’s managed correctly we could pull off an amazing, wonderful day,” he said.