By Geoff Newling
Sunday's Furneys Fun Day race meeting at Tamworth could be flooded with horses. Nominations for the eight-race TAB meeting close at 11am on Tuesday with Tamworth Jockey Club's GM, Kay Jeffrey, expecting good numbers despite the fact Scone raced today.
Jeffrey’s positivity is bolstered by the fact Coonabarabran Jockey Club has a six-race TAB meeting on Saturday and received 151 nominations today while over on the coast Ballina Jockey Club received 161 nominations for Friday’s meeting.
She said last week’s announcements of increased prizemoney for country race meetings as well as the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko has given country racing a huge lift.
“The Kosciuszko is such a wonderful idea,” she said. "It will put country trainers on the map and help them take a few more horses.
"The idea that you can go into your local pub or club and buy a $5 ticket that could win you a horse to race in a $1.3 million race is unbelievable. That a syndicate from the back of Bourke could win a $1.3 million race is amazing.”
She said the advent of the Country Championships and Highway Handicaps had been initial boons for country racing, and the most recent prizemoney increases and the new The Kosciuszko have taken it to another level.
“It’s a great time to be a trainer in the country,” she said as she prepared for large nominations for Sunday’s meeting. The increased prizemoney should lead to bigger fields and better racedays.
“We’re all about participation over here,” she said of the TJC. “We want people to come over and enjoy their racing and hopefully we will have some impressive numbers tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Ballina Jockey Club has been inundated with nominations for Friday’s TAB meeting in a year where they will race a Ballina Cup after all.
BJCs GM, Matt Bertram, said the club received 160 nominations for the eight-race meeting with 26 alone in the benchmark 65 handicap over 1000m.
“It’s been a good response,” Matt Bertram said. “We’ve also had perfect weather, the track is rated a Soft 5 at the moment but should race a Good 4 if the weather Gods look after us.”
BJC also has a number of functions running at the course on Friday while Racing NSW has just confirmed with the club that it’s annual 1600m Cup race will be held in 2018.
The BJC had planned to conduct major irrigation work to the track after Friday’s meeting but that has now been shelved so the September 6 Ballina Cup can be run. What it does mean that Bertram, his staff and the BJC committee have a short period to prepare and organise the biggest day on the calendar.