By Alexander Grant
The excitement is building in the lead-up to Bathurst’s biggest day of racing with over 100 horses nominated for ANZAC Day’s Soldier’s Saddle meeting at Tyers Park on Tuesday.
In an encouraging result for Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing, a total of 108 nominations have been received for Tuesday’s seven-race meeting, with 17 horses listed for the feature $30,000 Soldier’s Saddle race.
Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing general manager, Michelle Tarpenning, is thrilled with the support that’s been given towards the club’s most important day of the year.
“The nominations were very solid, which is very good. We only had one race with extended nominations – the ANZAC Sprint over the 1200-metres," she said. “We’ve got some great support again from provincial and metropolitan trainers, plus our local trainers.
"When you’re getting the likes of Gerald Ryan and Scott Singleton out here then that’s a really very positive. ANZAC Day is obviously a big day of racing everywhere we hope our numbers will hold and our acceptances will be solid.”
Bathurst could have two of its own chances in the feature RSL Soldier’s Saddle with Dean Mirfin’s Super Pig and Paul Theobald’s Tiger’s Story both nominated. If both earn a start it will still leave Bathurst well short of the six home-city entries in last year’s race.
The Garry Frazer-trained Showmaster beat home three of those Bathurst entries to the top prize last April. Gayna Williams is the only Bathurst trainer who has claimed the race on her home track, with Knickerbocker Kid (1999) and Colour City (2009).
The Class 4 Handicap Soldier’s Saddle (1400m) has become a popular target for trainers all over, according to Tarpenning.
“They’re racing for wonderful trophies and there’s a lot of trainers out there who would love to have their name on one. We’ll have Dean and Paul racing for it at home,” she said. “It’s a prestigious race and these great trophies have been donated to us by the RSL for over 20 years now, and they continue to offer us a lot of support.”
Of the 17 Saddle nominations there are plenty of visiting horses who could make a statement. Legislation (Wade Slinklard) returned from a spell with a strong win at Hawkesbury, Modha (Gerald Ryan) has been a former runner-up in Sydney weekend racing while Smokey’s Joy (Scott Singleton) will be a force on wet turf with his perfect heavy track record.
Other races in the meeting have been given strong support, especially the 1800m Class 1 & Maiden Plate which has attracted the highest number of 26 nominations. Roy L McCabe, Peter Stanley plus Andrew and Don Ryan are the other Bathurst trainers whose runners will take to the turf on Tuesday.
Outside of the track Tarpenning is hoping to see plenty of support given to the event by the community.
“This is a big day for us. It’s the day that the club looks forward to every year,” she said. “It’s become an iconic event across the Bathurst community. Whether people are there to watch the racing, acknowledge the day or to socialise, it’s a great day out.” The opening race will jump from 12.56pm.