By Doug Ryan
Wauchope Jockey Club has a novel raffle and cash incentives to add glamour and more interest in its century-old Woop Woop Cup race meeting at its Wauchope track on Boxing Day (Wednesday).
The meeting is noted for its influx of locals and holidaymakers to enjoy the five-race card but with other race meetings at Bowraville, Ballina, Inverell, and Quirindi on the same day, the club wants to provide incentives to attract more horses, trainers and jockeys. The club is offering $1000 to each of the leading winning jockey and trainer on the day on a points system for wins and placings.
President of the race club, Greg Partridge, said $5 raffle tickets are being sold in a type of Calcutta on the $9000 cup over 1800m where lucky holders drawn just before the event will get a starter in the cup and will be eligible for a minimum of $700 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third.
“If the pool is higher, the prizes for the first three horses past the post in the cup will be also higher. We always get a good crowd but we want to provide extra incentives for those making the day a success.”
Prizes will also be given for the best-dressed female and male and the club is making sure there is plenty of food and refreshments. A special free bus will pick up patrons from the Port Macquarie bus terminus at 10.45am and return them after the last race. Buses will also pick up patrons from the Wauchope RSL Club from 11.30am and deliver them back.
Local trainers and jockeys should be favourites to land the $1000 bonuses. Looking at wins over the last five years the most successful jockeys have been Port Macquarie’s Peter Graham with eight wins and Wauchope’s Belinda Hodder with five.
Wauchope trainer Grant Prosser and his son, Colt, have topped the number of wins for trainers with six apiece. In that time, Grant has won two Woop Woop Cups with Lord Averil and Colt won twice with Rigamarole, owned by Wauchope’s Steve Smith and his wife.
Last year’s cup win by Port eight-year-old mare Queen Of The Grange, trained by Gloria Parker, was truly memorable for local owner, Doug James, aged 91, who enjoyed the four lengths win trackside and was most gracious in accepting the prized cup, along with cups for the winning trainer and jockey Peter Graham.
Leading Mid North Coast trainer Colt Prosser will provide half a dozen runners with the track in splendid order and fine weather to continue, making this the biggest social event in the district.
Hoofnote: Jockey Belinda Hodder won the women’s fashions last year, only because Bowraville races, where she had mounts on the same day, was cancelled due to the weather.