By Mark Brassel
Racing in the NSW Southern Districts region warms up this month commencing with Tuesday’s Country Championships Preview at Murrumbidgee Turf Club’s Wagga Wagga Racecourse.
“It’s going to be a big month for the district,” said MTC’s CEO, Scott Sanbrook. “It kicks off with our Championships preview and culminates with the SDRA qualifier as part of the Albury Cup Carnival. Our Championships Preview over 1300-metres will provide the perfect lead-up to the SDRA leg of the Championships at Albury.”
The $150,000 Southern Districts Racing Association’s Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) is this year run at Albury on Sunday March 19.
Another highlight on Tuesday’s Wagga race card is the heat of the Rising Star Series with current leader Nyssa Burrells competing.
Burrells, 29, will partner Kooroora Miss in the race but although she is unlikely to pick up major points with the mare struggling to find form, none of those riders immediately chasing her will be at Wagga.
Burrells is leading the pack on 22 points and has a two-point lead over Mikayla Weir, with Blaike McDougall (18 points) and Andrew Adkins (17) next in the point score.
Wagga will complement the Albury carnival with the MTC Country Cup (2000m) and Michael Inglis Flying (1000m) scheduled for Sunday 2 April. The Michael Inglis Flying is named after the MTC vice-president who has been a strong supporter of country racing in NSW for many years.
Meanwhile, all ladies receive a free glass of champagne when attending Tuncurry-Forster Jockey Club’s Ladies Day this Saturday.
“Our cup was supposed to be run on Ladies Day but it looks like it will now be staged in September,” said TFJC’s President, Garry McQuillan. “Our Ladies Day was really successful last time and this year it will be even bigger with a new Champagne Bar opening – the women will love it! Racegoers can also win a weekend for two in Mudgee courtesy of Oatley Wines.”
The club has put on free buses to the racecourse from Blackhead, Nabiac, Tuncurry and Forster, with gates opening at midday.
It will be a huge Friday down in the Illawarra this week with Arrowfield Kembla Grange Classic Day: “Arrowfield sponsored the race for the first time last year and got off to a flying start when Single Gaze won and is by one of their stallions, Not a Single Doubt,” said Illawarra Turf Club’s Racing Manager, Michael Craig.
“And there is plenty of interest in this year’s Classic with the Surround Stakes winner, Kiwi galloper La Bella Diosa, marked down to run. We have free entry with a complimentary drink and lunch on the Stella Artois Lawn, as well as the chance to win a $1500 The Championships package. There is also live entertainment during the day.”
The other two features are the $85,000 Bert Lillye Memorial (1200m) and the $50,000 Kembla Grange Stayers Cup (2400m).