By Mark Brassel
Walcha, one of the true gems of country New South Wales, will be on display later this week when the race club’s two-day Cup Carnival kicks off on Friday.
Located on the south-eastern edge of the Northern Tablelands, the town of Walcha boasts a population of 3150 (people), 750,000 sheep and 85,500 cattle … and believe it or not, averages two days of snow per year.
Left: Racing action at Walcha. Image by Gareth Gardner (Northern Daily Leader)
This year Walcha Jockey Club is offering a $20,000 bonus ($10,000 to the trainer and $10,000 to the owners) on day 1 – Walcha Cup Day, Friday February 10.
“The $20,000 bonus is sponsored by local business owners Cameron and Dianne Martin and is called the Martin’s Lime and Fertilizer Services Walcha Cup Bonus,” explained WJC’s secretary/manager, Kevin Ferrier.
“The bonus will be paid out to any trainer and winning owners if they can claim our Walcha Cup and any other two races on the program with a minimum of nine starters. We’re hoping the bonus attracts leading trainers from the Country as well some from the Metropolitan and Provincial areas.”
Walcha’s two-day racing carnival is the community’s largest annual event and provides a tremendous economic boost to the town.
“We always draw a big crowd and we’re proud of the picnic-type atmosphere at our races. I can assure you anyone coming to Walcha will have a fantastic time,” Kevin said.
Prizemoney over the two days is $227,000 and features the $35,000 Elders Walcha Cup (1440m), $32,000 Woodie Wonder Racing Ron Martin Memorial (1000m) and the $25,000 Graziers Cup (1000m).
Saturday’s non-TAB meeting is also a casual affair with plenty of children’s activities including a jumping castle, bucking bull and face painting, as well as a Fashions on the Field contest.
Meanwhile, Goulburn hosts its third Country Championships on Saturday week (February 18) with a huge Showcase program boasting more than $370,000 in prizemoney.
The feature – the $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) – will attract the best horses trained in the South East Racing Association vying for a spot in the Final at Royal Randwick.
Goulburn’s Country Championships race is the second of seven $150,000 qualifying races with first and second in each heat heading to Royal Randwick on Saturday 1 April to compete in the $400,000 Country Championships Final (1400m).
The raceday is also one of Racing NSW’s highly-successful Showcase programs with minimum prizemoney for each race at $30,000 and includes a $40,000 Country Showcase Maiden (1000m).
Goulburn & District Racing Club has free entry and aside from some top class racing, will provide plenty of entertainment including the ‘ Country Outfitters’ Fashions on the Field with many categories including the FOTF final of the SERA.
Goulburn’s live entertainment is headed by rocking country band Blazing Boots, along with a mechanical bull, photo booth, jumping castle and pony rides.
Goulburn’s raceday will be followed by Dubbo (19 February), Taree (26 February), Scone (5 March), Wellington (12 March), Albury (19 March) and Muswellbrook’s ‘Wild Card’ (26 March).