Great nominations have been received for Wauchope Jockey Club’s biggest TAB race meeting worth $172,000, featuring the $32,000 Wauchope RSL Club Wauchope Cup (1512m), at Port Macquarie Racecourse on Sunday.
A mammoth 206 nominations have been received with the cup having 28 of them with gallopers from Wyong to Grafton.
Heading the cup contenders is the easy winner of the Wingham Cup at Taree, four-year-old Mr McBat, trained at Wyong by Damien Lane.
Others from that race include third placegetter six-year-old mare Who Is Game, trained at Taree by Michael Byers, Port Macquarie gelding Explosive Scene, trained by Marc Quinn, Star Of Legs, trained also at Port by Tas Morton and evergreen country cups king, Single Spirit, from the Taree stable of Ross Stitt.
Last year’s winning trainer Kris Lees has nominated resuming gelding Olympic Academy.
Six-year-old Coffs Harbour mare Sofin, trained by Shannon Fry, second in last year’s cup, is back to go one better in its first run from a spell.
Field sizes are restricted with the rail being out five metres but with so many gallopers wanting to get vital runs and prizemoney, the number of races could be increased.
Rain has led to the abandonment of many race meetings and participants are starving to have runs for their charges with important meetings, such as the Grafton Cup Carnival, coming up where many will be headed.
As it is the Port track on Tuesday was rated a heavy 10 but chief stipendiary steward Drew Smith said the sand-based track has good drainage.
It was a year ago when the club was the first to race on the $3.7 million reconstructed track and a record crowd attended the cup despite the wet weather.
The cup was won by five-year-old Newcastle mare Parraay ($5.50), trained by Kris Lees and ridden by Andrew Gibbons.
It was her first win in two years and she scraped home by neck from Sofin, a head in front of Taree gelding Clune’s Rocket.
Lees had a winning double with Micucci, ridden by Wauchope apprentice jockey Jesse Graham, but the Mid North Coast gallopers fared well with five wins on the eight-race card.
Local trainers will again be hoping to get amongst the first prizemoney as at the last two Taree Wingham Race Club TAB meetings they have only won two of the 17 races.
Club secretary Debbie Prosser said a trophy will not only be awarded for the cup but this year also for the M&S Print Sprint.
She was pleased to see so many local firms back the meeting with other races being sponsored by BDM Constructions, Wauchope Motel, Wauchope Real Estate, Port Mini Bus Rental, Port City Glass and NBN Television.
A special bus will take patrons to and from the track, it picking up at the Wauchope RSL Club at 11am.
Nice prizes will be given for a Fashions On The Field competition.
“After last year’s big crowd, I hope we can top it with a fine day,” she said.