MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR LOCAL CUP DAY
HOT on the heels of recent "packed houses” at Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Gladstone racecourses during the current Spring Racing Carnival, another big crowd is expected at Callaghan Park today.
Coinciding with the Melbourne Cup, the traditional race meeting is self promoting but through a more pro-active approach the Rockhampton feature race crowds have been increasing.
The Ray White Rockhampton City Race Day has many attractions including more than $3000 in prizes for the Stockland Rockhampton Fashions on the Field.
While there won't be anything like the 5300 patrons who attended the St Peter's Caulfield Cup race day on October 15, the RJC's CEO Tony Fenlon is upbeat.
"Everything has been very positive and it is just a matter of maintaining the momentum. The Cup Day luncheons in The Members and grandstand are sell outs. There are some vacancies for the Veuve Clicquot luncheon which is quite special so for that we are still taking late bookings on Tuesday. Naturally, regular race-goers just need to roll up at the entrance for what looks a very good meeting,” Fenlon said.
The late start of the five-race local program at 2.25pm is designed to allow jockeys to ride at the Gladstone races today from 10am until noon. Then nine jockeys will be headed north the 108km up the Bruce Hwy to also ride at Callaghan Park.
Among them is Adrian Coome who looms large for a Rocky double per medium of Ricky Vale's Clateau (Race 3 -Number 1) and Outback Pirate (R 4 - 1).
Former top Rockhampton apprentice, the now senior jockey Alisha Taylor, who has since honed her skills at the Sunshine Coast for many years, plans to move back here next month. Alisha was successful on the John Manzelmann-trained Lady Gemini at Yeppoon races on Saturday. She will link-up with trainer Jarrod Wehlow in Rockhampton and is a welcome addition to the riding ranks.
Taylor is available for rides at Friday's burgeoning TAB races at Callaghan Park which have attracted more than 80 entries.
These include bumper nominations for both divisions of the $42k 2YO Breeders Plate (1050m) which has lured some Brisbane place-getters which are advantageously placed.
Both divisions for Rockhampton's first juvenile race of the season are likely to be the strongest on record with possibly surprising capacity fields.
By the way, Tony Fenlon was elated with the response to the RJC's inaugural Melbourne Cup Calcutta luncheon held in The Members at Callaghan Park on Sunday.
"It was well attended at short notice and we will build and promote it from here on in. The Calcutta pool hit $20k with $14k to the lucky Melbourne Cup winning purchaser and $6k split between place-getters. Seemingly it is onwards and upwards with some hot racing continuing at Callaghan Park over the summer months,” Fenlon said.
Races will be staged there on Friday; Tuesday, November 15; Tuesday, November 22 as well as November 29.