By Tony Megahey
Long-serving former Western Racing steward and now Gilgandra Jockey Club secretary, Anne Hall, has studied her form and finished the entertainment planning for Sunday’s TAB New Year’s eve meeting, the prelude to next week’s historic Gilgandra Cup.
“Greg Ryan [pictured left] always has a full book at Gilgandra, he says it’s one of his favourite tracks so punters won’t go far wrong sticking with his riding choices,” Anne enthused.
The prolific-winning regional jockey has five rides on the six-race TAB program: “He’s riding a couple of Wayne Collison’s from Narromine and two for Gayna Williams from Mudgee with decent form.
“Wayne trains a lot of winners in the region and was a good jockey in his time as well. And when Connie Greig brings a few from Dubbo they’re usually hard to beat.”
Gilgandra hse a late start (first race at 3:25pm) to accommodate festivities and likely high temperatures.
“After the races we’ve got our usual party entertainment and music, bar and food to see in the New Year, so we’re expecting a really good crowd and hopefully a flow-on to our big Cup meeting on Sunday week. That’s always a great day and a strong Cup field.”
While most of Ryan’s rides will start favourite, the standout could be Collison’s pacy six-race winner Whispadah who carries 57.5kg from an inside draw in the Gilgandra Service’s Club and Kate Smith Memorial Cup (1550m). Whispadah led to win by a widening 3.5 lengths over 1300m at Narromine two weeks ago and has won on the Gilgandra circuit, so Ryan is likely to dictate terms.
A fledgling four-kilo claiming apprentice, Ronald Simpson, with two rides in his first season, gets the opportunity to ride against country racing’s finest. Ronald is apprenticed to Justin Stanley who predicts a bright future after the 17-year-old rode his first winner at Dubbo on Melbourne Cup day.