PRIZE BOOST: Turf clubs such as Gympie have benefited from recent increases in prizemoney.
PRIZE BOOST: Turf clubs such as Gympie have benefited from recent increases in prizemoney. Contributed

Smaller race clubs are big prizemoney victors

SMALLER country race clubs appear to be the major beneficiaries of prizemoney increases which began on October 1.

The numbers of nominations and starters at clubs such as Kumbia, Mt Perry, Wondai and Gayndah has leapt since they were placed on the same prizemoney as the larger clubs in the area.

Base prizemoney per race offered by the smaller (non-strategic) clubs was about $5000 per race but this increased to $7000 per race from October 1. The bigger clubs, such as Bundaberg, Gympie and Nanango had their base prizemoney increased from $6000 to $7000 from October. This has been exemplified at recent meetings where 50 started at Gayndah compared to 31 at the corresponding meeting in 2013, Wondai 38 compared to 26 the previous year while Kumbia had more starters than Toowoomba on Melbourne Cup day.

Tomorrow 56 horses have been nominated for the five-race Cup card at Mt Perry compared to 41 starters last year.

Future looks bright

Bigger fields tend to attract larger crowds so that the future of smaller clubs in this area now appears to be much brighter. The larger clubs will no doubt be pushing from a further increase in prizemoney, perhaps citing the fact that they provide important training facilities for significant numbers of horses as well as generating employment opportunities.

Diggers Cup back

Due to some generous sponsorship by the Gympie RSLA Sub-Branch, the Diggers Cup will be resurrected at the November 29 Gympie races. The Diggers Cup was first run by the GTC in 1964 and continued until 1969 before evolving into the Gympie Cup in 1970.

In this period the Diggers Cup carried total prizemoney of about $120 with the renewal on November 29 being worth about ten times this amount as both a measure of inflation over the 40 or so years since and the progression of country racing. It is expected that the Gympie RSLA Sub-Branch Diggers Cup will be a Benchmark 60 over 1460m.

The first Diggers Cup, run in 1964, was won by Sumarco who had a great record on the old sand track at Albion Park.

Christmas party

The Diggers Cup will form the centrepiece of the November 29 Christmas Party race day which will be the last Gympie race meeting until March 7. The day will also feature the $3000 Fashions of the Field draw with the names of all the Fashion of the Fields Finalists during 2014 going into the draw for the $3000 prize.

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Last Saturday at Chinchilla, the winner of the BM 55 was disqualified when his jockey weighed in light after the race. Rider of Blue Jest, the $2.80 favourite in the race, Matt McGillivray weighed in in excess of a half kilogram light and stewards disqualified the Bevan Johnson-trained galloper.

McGillivray was suspended for two weeks as a result but at least the jockey and trainer had some earlier good news, winning the first race with Satain's Chariot.

The runner-up in the BM 55, Canid ($11) was awarded the race with the disqualification of Blue Jest.

In the past, it was possible to call for the bridle to make up the weight deficiency but this amenity no longer seems possible.

Longreach-trained galloper, Testascana heads the weights with 61 kg for the $9000 Mt Perry Cup tomorrow. Testascana was recently fourth in the 1600m Longreach Cup and then 3rd in the Morven Cup before a 3rd at Chinchilla last Saturday.

Gympie Times


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