By Mark Brassel
Coonamble Jockey Club will be hosting their first-ever Country Championships raceday next Sunday in what has been described as the biggest social gathering on the town’s calendar.
Located 527km north-west of Sydney, Coonamble’s economy relies on sheep, wheat and wool, and in June hosts its 65th annual rodeo, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We are aiming not only for a great day of racing but also the chance for a fantastic social family day out,” said Ana Robson, CJC’s secretary/manager.
“We’re expecting a large crowd next Sunday and it’s looming as Coonamble’s biggest community day of the year.
“There will be live music, a jumping castle, novelty races and a Fashions on the Field, and we have group marquees, a luncheon marquee and a full bar with TAB facilities and entry is just $15.
“There is a train leaving Dubbo with tickets available (via 123Tix) and a Calcutta and Charity Auction next Saturday night at the Terminus Hotel, with tickets on sale from the hotel that include dinner.”
Connections of last start Mudgee winner Fast Talking will be aiming the horse at the Coonamble Country Championships Qualifier.
The five-year-old, with Greg Ryan aboard and trained by Dubbo’s Kody Nestor, stormed down the outside at $14 last Sunday to upset the better fancied Golden Avenger (Hugh Bowman, $4) in scoring by just under a length.
“The Championships at Coonamble has always been in Kody’s mind so now the horse has struck form, he will head up there and try to gain a berth to the Final,” said Ryan.
The Western Racing Association Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) offers $150,000 with prizemoney on Coonamble’s eight-race card totalling $370,000.
The meeting is a Racing NSW Country Showcase card with minimum prizemoney for each event $30,000, making it the richest race meeting held at Coonamble.
On Thursday Moree Race Club is providing free entry to its TAB Raceday with the course now in fantastic shape following welcome rain.
MRC’s secretary/manager, Michelle Gobbert, said: “We’ve had plenty of rain since the start of 2020, probably more than the whole of last year.
“The track is looking perfect and March is always much cooler and more pleasant for racing than the summer.”
Manning Valley Race Club (Taree) will be supporting Taree Lions Club on Friday with the TAB race meeting fully sponsored by Hannam Vale and surrounding area businesses.
Lunch packages are available at $44 for a splendid two-course lunch and MVRC has a free bus leaving Hannam Vale at 11am and returning at 6:15pm.