Jockey Club officials prepared to defend themselves last night against accusations they were too hasty in cancelling the first Happy Valley meeting of the season. 'It was the right decision,' said executive director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. 'We have people telling us we should have waited but we acted not only on the basis of the weather in the morning but with the evidence we had before us regarding the forecast. We first discussed at 9am the possibility of having to cancel the meeting, and heavy rain continued until 11am when we met again. 'The information we had was that further rain would fall during the afternoon with the most optimistic view that we could expect 10-20mm per hour.' Tracks manager John Ridley reported last night that by 10am the rain gauge at Happy Valley was holding 119mm and a further 100mm fell between then and the scheduled time of the first race. It was the fourth Happy Valley meeting to be cancelled because of the weather since 1999, the most recent being June 17, 2005, when torrential rain and surface water at the scheduled time for the first race forced the abandonment with all relevant parties at the course. The other cancellations were due to Typhoon Hagupit on September 11, 2002, and September 3, 2003, for Typhoon Dujuan. 'People think we make these decisions too early, but we avoid problems with cancelling after the horses have been transported and trainers, jockeys, staff and customers are already there,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. He said the condition of the racetrack itself was not an issue, but there was potential for flooding in surrounding areas. 'After a two-month break, the racecourse is in fabulous shape,' he said. 'However, due to the storm water catchment system there was potential for flooding in the infield.' The club is looking for government approval of a replacement date next May 9. What also may have been a consideration behind the scenes was a new factor in play since the tax reforms and the club's guarantee of revenue to the government - had the club run several races and been forced to abandon, it would not have been eligible to apply for a replacement date and have the opportunity to earn that government revenue for which it has already committed.