2012 AgVantage Commodities Golden Triangle picnic circuit
By Bill Poulos
Jockeys’ and trainers’ bonuses worth $6000 will be offered at this year’s Golden Triangle Picnic Racing Carnival at Moree, Mallawa and Talmoi in north-western NSW – double the amount previously offered on the popular circuit.
Bush racing’s Golden Triangle – the heart of bush racing in the heart of the country – starts at Moree on Saturday 26 May with Mallawa jumping from the gates two weeks later on June 9.
Talmoi, a Country Racing NSW Award winner last year for its hugely successful centenary meeting, winds up the carnival on Saturday 23 June.
Club officials have this year upped the ante to ensure full fields are complemented by enough riders at all three legs of the carnival. The clubs also offer allowances to help jockeys with travel expenses.
Each club will offer trainers and jockeys lucrative bonuses worth $1000 based on a 5-3-2 points system with $700 for first and $300 for second. In the event of a draw for either first or second, bonuses will be shared equally.
Moree Picnic Race Club president, Scott Carrigan, whose club offers $18,500 prizemoney across six races, says lifting the bonuses is paramount to supporting bush racing.
“We have a great carnival but all three clubs understand the vast distances that jockeys have to travel to ride up this way – and they have to make three trips in the space of six weeks to ride at every meeting,” Carrigan said.
“Offering worthwhile bonuses and travel rebates will help offset the costs of travelling as well as any en route accommodation costs they might incur.”
Mallawa Picnic Race Club, which first began racing in 1930, offers $25,000 in prizemoney across its six-race program – the richest leg of the Golden Triangle.
Mallawa’s unique horseshoe-shaped track boasting a 450m-long straight is situated 70km west of Moree on the Gwydir Highway.
Club president, Rob Onus, agrees with Carrigan that boosting bonuses – and prizemoney – is paramount to the success of bush racing.
“Raising the bonuses is a great idea and we have lifted our cup prizemoney to $7000 as well – it’s one of the richest picnic cups in NSW,” Onus said.
Talmoi Picnic Race Club, the oldest of the three clubs and a dual Country Racing NSW Awards for Excellence winner, brings down the curtain at Garah; a small farming village 60km north-west of Moree on the Carnarvon Highway.
Longstanding club president, Andrew Crowe, who helped co-ordinate last year’s huge Syngenta Centenary Train Ride meeting, says Talmoi 2012 will focus purely on racing.
“This year it will be all about the horses and the racing – bush racing,” Crowe said. “We want to foster bush racing, hence the increases; these bonuses are great for picnic racing.
“As long as there is cold beer at the bar and fast horses on the track, Garah is in for a great day at the races,” he laughed.
Picnic hoop Paddy Kelly knows only too well the travelling involved when competing on the Golden Triangle.
Kelly, now based in Victoria after last year working out of Guy Walter’s Goulburn stables, rode the north-west circuit for the first time 12 months ago and says he’ll definitely be back this year – with his bride-to-be, aspiring hoop Patricia Burton by his side.
“The bonuses are great, especially for someone like me,” Kelly said. “I’m based back in Victoria at the moment but I’ll be coming up for all the NSW meetings, and every penny helps with the travelling.”
Kelly’s fiancée is currently in the process of becoming an approved rider and plans to also ride at the carnival.
“We’ll be going up to NSW on a regular basis and Patricia will be able to claim three kilos,” Kelly said. “When we get married there will be two P. Kellys on the scene – it will be good,” he laughed.