MOST would know Peter Kirby as one of the Orange District Cricket Association’s longest-tanding umpires.
But today Kirby will be trading in the famous woollen moo-moo he so often wears umpiring first grade cricket at Wade Park for saddles and bridles during the Orange and District Picnic Racing Club’s picnic meeting at Towac Park.
Kirby has prepared each-way hope Bindana for the fourth race, the Class B Handicap (1600m).
Not overly confident in the five-year-old’s ability in just his first start back from an eighth-month spell, Kirby branded the bay gelding an honest plodder and said the picnics would be the ideal avenue for a comeback to the track.
“He’s just a plodder,” Kirby said.
“He goes out there and tries his best ... there’s not a lot more I can say about him. He’s coming back from a spell and I’m running him to see how he goes. He’s an honest stayer, he’ll be competitive over the 1600.”
Bindana will ride in the race prior to today’s main event, the 2014 Orange Picnic Cup.
The Cup will feature Orange Picnics veteran Segovian, with trainer Graham Shields returning the nine-year-old gelding to Towac Park to try and trump the second place finish he had in the same race in 2012.
Nyssa Burrells had the ride on Segovian two years ago, losing narrowly to Igora Royal.
Burrells will also have the job on Kirby’s five-year-old today.
Kirby trains Bindana and the rest of his stable of horses out of Forbes, mainly because of the limited trackwork riders from his home in Canowindra.
He says venturing out to Towac Park for the picnic races today will be as good an excuse as any to beat the heat, with the city tipped to peak at 35 degrees this afternoon.
But cricketers won’t miss out on Kirby’s services altogether.
“I’m umpiring [Friday night] and then having [today] off,” he said.
“It’s too hot for old fellas to be out there umpiring in this heat.”
The first race at today’s picnic races will jump at 1.20pm, with the final race on the six-race program jumping at 4.40pm.
The Orange Picnic Cup will run at 4pm.