Whilst there will be plenty of focus on a strong Goulburn Cup come Sunday, it is the last race on the card that holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many locals at the tablelands track.
The Guy Walter Fillies & Mares Benchmark 72 Handicap is a key part of the club’s feature day, the race named in honour of the late Guy Walter who spent a lot of time in and around the track in recent years overseeing his Goulburn operation.
Walter grew up a country boy but had success as a trainer wherever he placed his horses. His ability to get the best out of his gallopers is well known to those in the industry but it was also his influence on people still finding their way in the racing game that left a lasting legacy at Goulburn.
Goulburn trainer and Walter’s former stable foreman in Goulburn, John Bateman believes his association with Walter was something that’s hard to replicate.
“It was his personality and the fact he was just such a nice bloke. He was like a second father to me and just so very easy to learn from,” Bateman said.
Bateman thinks Walter’s philosophy in training and caring for racehorses set him apart.
“He often said use patience and to take care. He used to say if you don’t put the hard work in, you won’t get anything back. It was so good to be able to hang around with him at or track or stables in the mornings and share stories. He made me feel like it was more of a friendship, than a working relationship.”
Goulburn Race Club CEO Robyn Fife believes that it is fitting that Cup day closes with a tribute to a horseman and mentor who many at the Goulburn Club remember as a genuinely “Good Guy”.
“The relatively short time Goulburn Race Club worked with Guy Walter was easily outweighed by the long-standing influence he had on the club and those who got to know him. This race is about recognition of that and his legacy,” Ms Fife said.
The club also believes that a race restricted to fillies and mares is the right fit for such a tribute.
Guy had a unique affinity with all the horses he trained but had a particular knack for getting the best out of fillies and mares with elite level performing horses like Streama, Bernicia and Appearance some of the more recent examples.”
Now in its fourth year, the race also has a new sponsor on board in 2017 with Spendthrift Stud Australia taking over the race naming rights. Spendthrift Stud will offer winning connections of the “Guy Walter” a stallion service of their choice from any one of their stallions including Swear, Hampton Court, Jimmy Creed and Warrior’s Reward”.
This year’s race has attracted an extremely competitive field with sixteen acceptors drawn from a strong mix of city, provincial and country stables. The lightly raced Godolphin galloper Savatiano currently heads the TAB Fixed Odds market but expect strong opposition from horses a little wider in the market such as Assertin Mischief (Jason Coyle) and last start Highway Handicap winner O’Lordy (Danny Williams).
The strong Goulburn Cup eight race card kicks off 1.04pm on Sunday and gates open at noon. More information on the Goulburn Cup and associated activities is available at goulburnraceclub.com.au