By Mark Brassel
NSW’s Sapphire Coast may boast pristine beaches and some cracking weather but it will be stockings, and not bikinis, that will be out in force during a huge two-day racing carnival next weekend.
The Bega Cheese Cup Carnival commences on Saturday with a fashion parade and a fishnet stocking competition with great prizes on offer from the local Longstocking Brewery.
“On the Saturday our local boutique brewery, Longstocking, has donated prizes for the best stockings and there will be forties style old cars – that’s the theme of the brewery,” explained Sapphire Coast Turf Club’s secretary-manager, Rob Tweedie.
“There will also be plenty of free entertainment on both days with a free jumping castle for the kids and free buses to and from the track and all are welcome to attend the opening of our new stables at 11am with champagne and nibbles.
“There is $430,000 in prizemoney on offer over the two days featuring the $50,000 Bega Cheese Bega Cup, the $40,000, Momsen Motors Bega Sprint and the $35,000 Tanja Park Stud Handicap.”
Following Saturday’s meeting, Club Sapphire in Merimbula will stage a Bega Cup Calcutta hosted by Sky Racing’s Shawn Cosgrove with the draw starting at 8pm.
Sunday’s second day is a Racing NSW Country Showcase meeting with a minimum $30,000 prizemoney for each race. Jess Ryan, SCTC’s sponsorship & marketing manager, said: “We will have one of our biggest Fashions on the Field competitions with the winner receiving two return flights for two from Rex Airlines [Merimbula to Sydney].
“The winner will then be able to compete at the SERA [South East Racing Association] finals in Goulburn on Country Championships day [Saturday 24 February] where there’s over $5000 in prizes.
“We will also have our first ever Beauty Spot where the girls can visit for that vital raceday makeup touch up!” Free buses will be operating, go to the website – www.sapphirecoastturfclub.com.au
Queanbeyan trainer Frank Cleary, fresh from his Moruya Town Plate victory last Monday with That’s Freedom, is eyeing off the Bega Cup with his in-form gelding.
“We’re certainly looking at that Sapphire Coast race,” Cleary said. “The horse has pulled up well and it was great to see some of my loyal owners get a result at over $15.
“John Mcintyre is former chairman of the Canberra Raiders and has been an owner with me for 45 years. And [Dr] Allan Hawke is the current chairman – they are both great blokes and got a big thrill out of the horse winning the Town Plate.
“I was watching the race and yelling for Jeff [Penza, jockey] to use the whip as he’s a seven-year-old gelding and responds.
“When he came back Jeff said the whip was tangled in the horse’s mane for about 200 metres before he finally untangled it. He really hit the line after he received a couple of light smacks.”