ChillOut organisers have announced the ChillOut Race Day has been cancelled due to unsuitable track conditions.

Festival organisers made the announcement this afternoon, however, they stressed that other ChillOut events will go ahead as planned.

Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club manager Mark Graham said the decision to cancel the March 12 event was difficult but unavoidable as around 390mm (15.6 inches) of rain had fallen in the area since the start of the year.

“The grass track is currently in a very stressed state due to water/flood damage,” Graham said.

“Following recent racing, jump outs and grass gallops the surface has sustained much more wear, tear and damage following these activities than what normally would be expected and the recovery rate is also much slower than normal.

“Our number one priority is to ensure the racing surface is safe for jockeys, track riders and horses, and performs to high standard.”

Graham said following consultation with Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria, a decision was made to close the course until the end of March this year.

ChillOut president Michael Brady said he was “saddened” by the cancellation, but said the right decision was made.

“We were especially excited abut the ChillOut Country Races as a new event on the ChillOut calendar, and of course it is a disappointment to hear they will not be going ahead,” Brady said.

“But we support the Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club’s decision and their focus on the safety of jockeys and horses.

“We have developed a strong working relationship with the club and we’re already talking about an event for next year’s festival.”

The Hanging Rock Cup was scheduled to run on the day.

Other ChillOut events, including the Carnival Day on Sunday, March 13, remain unaffected by recent wet weather in the area.

Fine and mild weather is currently forecast for the ChillOut festival weekend.

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