By Doug Ryan
Melbourne Cup tradition, accompanied by local races, plenty of glamour and festive spirit—that’s just part of celebrations for the usual big crowd at the Mid North Coast Racing Association’s only cup meeting at Taree on Tuesday.
Manning Valley Race Club's CEO, Helen Sinclair, has responded with a magnificent program of entertainment to ensure the atmosphere pervading Melbourne is not lost locally.
There are still some placings left to be part of what is happening in the Winning Post Function Centre, coinciding with festivities trackside.
Entry, a racebook, an extensive menu and a guaranteed seat are part of the $88 package in the centre.
Outside the emphasis is on the five-race card and all the trappings of Melbourne Cup fever.
The Fashions On The Field, the bookies, odds from them and the TAB, plus gourmet food dished up by Rotary and others, plenty of refreshments and the glamour of it all inspire the right atmosphere.
All the action can be watched on the big infield video screen and other outlets around the course.
Two Port Macquarie gallopers are favoured to fight out the feature race, the TAB Venue Mode Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1600m.
They are five-year-old gelding Shoreditch, trained by Port Macquarie trainer John Sprague, a ride for senior Port jockey Peter Graham who rode four winners at Wauchope’s meeting a week ago, and five-year-old mare Blinkin Snazzy, trained by Tom Higgins.
Sprague only wants his gelding to show a little more zest over the concluding stages to be hard to beat.
“He gets back in his races and just seems not to want to get there (on the post).
“The 1600m is probably his best distance this time in and I hope he can show a better result.”
Higgins said his mare’s last start 8th at Port Macquarie can be forgotten as she was “in season”.
Her previous run for second over 1600m was more her form and he believes the race is “right up her alley.”