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Ballot Exemption For Bega Cup Lures Talent To Sapphire Coast (Monday)

A guaranteed start in next month's Bega Cup will be up for grabs in Monday's Benchmark 60 Hcp (1600m) at the Sapphire Coast.

The Sapphire Coast Jockey Club is gearing up for its biggest race dates of the year on 4 and 5 February for the two-day Bega Cup carnival.

The Bega Cup meeting on Sunday, February 5 is a Showcase meeting for the first time and carries total prizemoney of $275,000.

The Cup day program includes the $50,000 Bega Cup (1600m), the $40,000 Bega Sprint (1200m) and the $35,000 Sapphire Coast Cup (2200m).

Monday's seven-race program includes the Tathra Beach House Bega Cup Prelude Benchmark 60 Hcp (1600m) with the winner gaining automatic entry in the Bega Cup.

"Our Bega Cup meeting is a Showcase meeting for the first time and the Bega Cup will now be worth $50,000 and the Sprint is now worth $40,000 so we are looking forward to a great carnival in February," SCJC secretary-manager Rob Tweedie said.

The Bega Cup Prelude on Monday has attracted a field of eight including the evergreen Moruya-trained galloper Jayko. The nine-year-old trained by Chris Hensler is going as well as ever and is chasing a hat-trick after posting all-the-way wins at Nowra on 31 December and 17 January.

Monday's meeting is usually run in early January but has been moved to later in the month this year to avoid a scheduling clash with Moruya.

"It is always a great family day here at the Sapphire Coast but is at a slightly later date this year.” Tweedie said.

"The fields have stood up very well and it should be a great day with a Fashions On The Field competition and a jumping castle for the kids."

Monday's meeting also features the Tathra Bowls Club Tathra Cup (1000m) with the main hopes looking to be last-start Canberra winner Sky Mission and the Canberra-trained pair Therese and She Zar, both resuming.

Former Melbourne sprinter Decircles, having his first start for Albury trainer Natalie Loy, heads the Tathra Cup weights with 67kg.

The rail for Monday's meeting will be out 5m from the 800m to the winning post and true for the remainder. The track is currently rated a good 4.

View the fields, form and race replays for Sapphire Coast here.

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