By Geoff Newling
The spirit of recently-deceased Inverell Jockey Club president Don Bartlett will be rekindled at Inverell on New Year’s Day with the inaugural running of the Don Bartlett Memorial Bush Battlers Cup.
Mr Bartlett’s untimely passing last month strengthened the resolve of Inverell Jockey Club to press for a race that had been his brainchild, advised Greg Kachel.
“He felt a race on Inverell Cup Day should be restricted to horses which had contested community cup meetings in the North and North West in the preceding 12 months,” Greg Kachel said. “Racing NSW gave the good news to IJC secretary Leanne Brown at a meeting in Sydney last week.
“Although final criteria and conditions are still to be determined, it will mean there will be a mammoth nine races on January 1’s Inverell Cup Day.”
IJC vice president Mike Witherdin said plans for the memorial Bush Battlers Cup are in the early stages.
“At this stage the conditions of the race are undetermined,” Mike Witherdin said. “We will draw up a draft proposal and send to Racing NSW.”
His club had initially hoped to run the Doug Bartlett Memorial Bush Battlers Cup as a feature race on an extra meeting in February/March. However, having it as an extra race on the cup day program is a positive gain and will make Cup day an even bigger race day event for the Sapphire city.
“We’ll send the draft off to Racing NSW and hopefully they will come back with a more definite decision the race conditions.” Just how horses will earn a start in the new race will be decided by Racing NSW.
“At this stage the object is have a $20,000 race at a TAB meeting for horses coming out of once-a-year club races,” Witherdin added. “Horses that have run at Glen, Deepwater, Barraba, Bingara and Narrabri. Basically community racedays and not TAB Sky 2 days.”
When IJC secretary Leanne Brown received “the green light” for the Bush Battlers Cup in Sydney it also capped off a good day for North Western racing, with Deepwater Jockey Club named Community Club of the Year for its outstanding 150th celebration last January while Elsmore-born and bred Rachael Murray was named NSW Country Jockey of the Year.