2019 Gympie Turf Club awards go down to the wire
HORSE RACING: All three Gympie Turf Club awards for leading trainer, jockey and horse were closely-run contests, with Mahratta claiming Horse of the Year by one point over Windquest.
Cherie Vick won the trainer's award by a similar margin from Bundaberg mentor Darryl Gardiner, and leading jockey Gary Geran won the Jockey's Award by three points from Gympie's Robbie Faehr.
On the track, Craiglea galloper Executed showed his class and versatility last Saturday in carrying a record weight of 66kg to win the 1600m $10,000 Nanango Cup.
The now eight-year-old son of Warhead had won the 1380m Bundaberg Cup the previous Saturday with 64.5kg in the saddle on a sand track before his victory on a Firm 2 track, extending his winning distance to the mile. Again ridden by Jason Missen, Executed defeated Fasta than Light by a length with Gudonya third .
In the four-horse field, the three place getters were sent out equal favourites at 7/4. Fasta than Light had been third to Executed at Bundaberg over the unsuitable 1380m and did well at Nanango on the hard track considering his best efforts have been on much softer sand tracks.
The disappointing field of only four runners in the Nanango Cup possibly indicates that Nanango may need to take steps to provide a good racing surface, as well as endeavouring to increase prize money.
With the track often rated a Firm 2 during the dry winter months, trainers are possibly wary of their horses jarring up on that surface.
On the prizemoney side, Wondai and Kumbia Cups challenge the money offered at Nanango whilst the Gympie Turf Club usually has at least one $10,000 race at each of its race meetings for the year as well as two cup races with $24,000 total prize money.
Super Leon (10/9 on fav., G. Geran) won the 1000m maiden, beating the Glenn Richardson-trained Brigalow Queen and Craiglea Oscar.
The country cups focus shifts to Gladstone tomorrow with the $12,000 1608m Gladstone Cup taking centre stage.
The Cup drew eight nominations, with the Bevan Johnson-trained Artie Shaw top weight at 60kg.
Craiglea is represented in the Gladstone Cup by Craiglea Cetina, who is out of a Gympie Cup winner in Craiglea Tina. Craiglea Tina won recently at Esk over 1460m, came second at Wondai over 1460m and Cairns over 1900m, as well as a winner at Thangool over 1600m.
The five-year-old mare has now earned well over $100,000 in prize money.
Seven horses were accepted for the Gladstone Cup, with recent Gympie RSL Cup winner Kalangadoo Chrome drawing the inside gate.
The first of Gympie's major cup races comes tomorrow week with the running of the $24,000 Nolan Meats Muster Cup.
The Turf Club will also introduce a $100 trainer's bonus for horses finishing fifth to eighth in all races from now on.