By Mark Brassel
The huge number of nominations in New South Wales during the past week offers a prime indication that racing is flourishing in the ‘premier state’.
For the seven days commencing from last Monday’s Taree meeting (3 July) to this afternoon’s Wagga and Grafton programs, there were 13 professional race meetings programmed. Each of those meetings attracted more than 100 nominations; from 114 nominations at Muswellbrook last Tuesday to today’s Grafton meeting that received a massive 194 nominations.
Veteran statistician, Gowan Williams, said: “I cannot remember seeing more than 100 nominations for every single professional meeting in this State for a very long time. In all there were 2039 nominations and that equated to an average of 157 per race meeting.”
And further good news for NSW racing came in the form of an announcement by Racing NSW on Thursday. The Everest race meeting on Saturday 14 October will coincide with a two-year anniversary of the launch of the hugely popular TAB Highway race series.
The Board of Racing NSW recognised the milestone by adding a $200,000 Anniversary Highway race to the card of the inaugural The Everest raceday.
“Saturday October 14 will be an historic event for thoroughbred racing in Australia and will reinforce Sydney’s positon as a leading global event city,” said Racing NSW Chairman, Mr Russell Balding AO.
Grand Proposal, trained by Neville Layt, won the inaugural TAB Highway Handicap back in October 2015 beating Invienna and Onemoregypsy when ridden by Winona Costin. The first five horses in that event went over the line within a length of each other, setting a precedent for many exciting and close finishes in the two years of Highways since.
Meanwhile, fresh from a winning treble at Thursday’s Hawkesbury meeting from just four runners, trainer Gary Moore will be a special guest at tomorrow’s Ramornie-Grafton Cup Luncheon at Grafton Racecourse.
Moore’s stable was in splendid form with victories from Hostwin Shadow, Risen and Hostwin Meraki in successive races. The affable trainer will be joined on stage by ace jockey Hugh Bowman who, with 73 wins, has come from the clouds to be now outright favourite to take out the 2016-17 Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership.
This followed Bowman’s three wins at Canterbury Park on Wednesday and the subsequent suspension of front-runner, Brenton Avdulla (76½).
Today’s Grafton Toyota South Grafton Cup day will be followed by two huge days in the city: Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Day (Wednesday) and McKimms Real Estate Grafton Cup Day (Thursday).
The latter is Grafton’s biggest social day of the year and includes the Grafton Shopping World Fashions on the Field and other major races including the $50,000 Sir James Kirby, $50,000 Mother’s Gift, $45,000 NBN 2YO Plate and $30,000 Northern Rivers Concrete Pumping Big Maiden.
Grafton’s carnival rounds out with Maclean Bowling Club Maclean Cup Day next Sunday.