A SIGNIFICANT anniversary in Toowoomba's sporting and social history ticked over last Saturday when Clifford Park celebrated 20 years of twilight racing.
Last Saturday night's low-key six-event meeting marked two decades of floodlit racing since the switch was first flicked on Toowoomba Cup night 1992.
For the record, the Cup was won by Waigani Drive for apprentice jockey Phillip Wolfgram and trainer Sandy Lennox.
Former Toowoomba Turf Club secretary and current club committee member Allen Volz recalled this week the calculated gamble taken on Clifford Park's future which ultimately changed the direction of Toowoomba's racing industry.
"I remember first suggesting the possibility of night racing being introduced to Toowoomba back in 1977 in a racing column I wrote at the time in The Chronicle," Volz said.
"I put the idea to the club chairman, Linsley Thorpe, who took it to the racing minister, Russ Hinze, who knocked it back."
It wasn't until July 1991 that a breakthrough was finally made and the wheels were set in motion to brighten Clifford Park's future.
"The member for Toowoomba South, Mike Horan, Don Gordon and myself first met with TAB officials in 1991 about our proposal for the new concept of twilight racing under lights," Volz said.
The idea gradually gathered support and with the help of some TTC self-funding, SKY Channel and the TAB agreed to take Toowoomba gallops to the rest of Australia for the first time.
Clifford Park was soon on its way to claiming its unique niche.
"Not everyone fell in love with it, but I had no doubt it would go on to be a success," Volz said.
"It was a slightly calculated gamble but ... everyone got 100% behind it to make it work."
The late Dale Eiser was responsible for engineering Clifford Park's revolutionary floodlight system.