By Mark Brassel
Former Australian Test and One-Day International cricketer, Phillip Hughes, will be remembered during Bowraville’s Boxing Day race meeting on Wednesday.
Nambucca River Jockey Club will stage the feature, the $12,000 Macksville Ex-Services Club Phillip Hughes Memorial Flying (1000m).
“Our Boxing Day race meeting has always been a ‘catch-up’ gathering for people returning to the area for the holiday season and there could be no better venue than at Bowraville races,” said NRJC’s Geoff Harris.
“Most locals would be aware that Phillip, who was born in nearby Macksville, regularly made an appearance at Bowraville Racecourse and he loved joining his local mates for a relaxed day out.
“We are keen to continue this event in Phillip’s memory and to continue the tradition of comradery and friendship that traditionally happens at this time of the year.
“The trophy for the race is unique – a mounted cricket bat with 63 not out (Phillip’s final score).
“The track is in excellent condition and the whole of the racecourse area is as picturesque as we’ve seen for many years. And all our facilities will be operating including food outlets and bars.
“Unfortunately, this meeting was washed out last year, but much better weather is forecast so all is in place for a great event.”
Evergreen sprinter Lucky Meteor is topweight for the Phillip Hughes Memorial with the crushing weight of 64kg, but gets some relief with 3kg-claiming apprentice, Kyle Wilson-Taylor, aboard.
Lucky Meteor is the winner of 13 races (and 14 placings) for prizemoney of close to $250,000.
Bowraville is one of 11 NSW race meetings on a busy Boxing Day and aside from Royal Randwick, there will be racedays at Newcastle, Ballina, Queanbeyan, Quirindi, Sapphire Coast, Wauchope, Inverell, Tumut and Wellington.
It’s Bendigo Bank Pambula Cup Raceday at Sapphire Coast Turf Club with the club’s five-race afternoon one of Bega Valley’s biggest social days.
“We have a free photo booth, free jumping castle, free entertainment and free buses to and from the track,” said SCTC’s Rob Tweedie. “And the Fashions on the Field competition is always fantastic with plenty of prizes on offer.”
Ballina Jockey Club’s Boxing Day meeting also draws a huge crowd: “This meeting is one of our biggest and allows for a sleep-in from Christmas Day with the first race jumping at 1:48pm,” said BJC’s Matthew Bertram.
“There's free bus transfers and free kids’ entry and entertainment, with the gates opening at 12:30pm.” Main race is the $10,000 100.9 ZZZZ FM Class 1 Handicap (1410m).