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Race Meeting A Close Run Thing

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Ian and Helen Glaister, from Hervey Bay, and Dave and Julie Glaister, from the Gold Coast, added some Dr. Seuss-inspired colour to Saturday's Winter Race Meeting at Wondai; neither couple had ever been to a Wondai race meeting before

July 10, 2017

Saturday’s Winter Race Day at Wondai was a close run thing, with South Burnett Race Club officials uncertain about whether the meeting could go ahead until mid-morning.

Rainfall over the region the day beforehand had left pools of water on part of the club’s sand track that had to be drained, and then the track needed to be raked to turn the surface over.

To ensure safety for horses and jockeys, officials delayed the start of the first race by half an hour, then re-raked the track after it had been run to ensure the course would dry out as the day wore on.

As things turned out, the water pools were on the surface and were soon removed with a little trenching; and two passes of a tractor-pulled rake were enough to evaporate whatever moisture remained.

This gave the crowd that attended the meeting a fun day out at the track in what turned out to be near-perfect winter weather.

Wondai’s Winter Race Day is usually the quietest of the South Burnett Race Club’s three annual meetings, and attendance numbers were slightly lower than the usual bumper Anzac Day or Caulfield Cup outings.

The bright Winter sunshine also made sunglasses almost compulsory for anyone who ventured outside the undercover areas.

All the same, guests came from all over the region and beyond, with a large contingent travelling from Hervey Bay to book out a long table in the gaily decorated sponsor’s tent set up in front of the grandstand.

Others travelled from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to join locals from Nanango, Kingaroy, Wondai, Murgon and Widgee in the betting ring or at the bar, the dining room or the barbecues.

The races themselves were close-run affairs, with margins of a neck, a nose or a short half head separating the winners from the runners-up in four of the day’s five contests.

The meeting’s feature race – the Lewis Duff Memorial Maiden, run in honour of one of the South Burnett Race Club’s founders – was won by the Barry Gill trained Messageinabottle by just a nose.

The popular Fashions On The Field competition was also well contested, with stylish men, women, boys and girls all vying for the judges’ attention.

Winners of the afternoon’s competition, which was organised by South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff and judged by Lyn and Peter Schuh, all walked away with prizes.

The South Burnett Race Club’s next outing will be its Caulfield Cup Day meeting on Saturday, October 21.

Wendy Garske and John Radel, from Hervey Bay, lit up the field with their bright red ensembles; the couple were part of a large Hervey Bay contingent that booked a table in the Sponsors' Tent

Kingaroy's Lilli Taffe and Ryan Reicko came for a fun day out at the track

Kingaroy's Samantha Emslie and Bron French enjoyed the view from the grandstand

Howard Dorling and Janelle Adam, both from Curra, were staying at the Barambah Bush Caravan Park when they heard about Wondai's race meeting, and decided to come along for a day at the track

Murgon's Belynda Hiron, Marcena Ardrey and Alex Klibbe cut a stylish trio when they caught up trackside with Wondai friend Tahlia Weber

Brisbane's Jess Groves and Annie Proverts braved the sunlight on the grandstand with Kingaroy friend Abbey Overland

Christian and Samantha Berechree and their daughter Josephine, 16 months, recently moved to the area from Roma; Christian and Josephine later went on to win the Men's and Girl's sections of the Fashions On The Field competition

Brothers Malachi and William Murray both entered the boy's section of the Fashions competition; William won

Anna Hobbs-Pukallus, from Widgee, is congratulated by her husband Bill for winning the Ladies Fashions On The Field section

South Burnett Race Club patron Roy Radunz and Anna Hobbs-Pukallus with Fashions On The Field judges Lyn and Peter Schuh, of Wondai, and Fashions organiser Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff

* * *

I Am McLovin narrowly won the first race of the day by a short half head over Star Hero

South Burnett Race Club officials raked the sand track before the day's first race - and then did it again after it was run - to ensure the course was safe for racing; as things turned out, the track dried quickly and many of the day's race times were close to track records


Race 1 – Norco Rural And Goldmix Mill Windera BM45 Handicap (1100m)
1. I Am McLovin (4) – Alannah Badger
2. Star Hero (2) – Gemma Steele
3. Wild Element (7) – Robert Faehr
Time: 1:07.12
Margins: Short 1/2 head x Long neck

Race 2 – The Gums At Memerambi BM60 Handicap (1000m)
1. Liverpool Jane (3) – Gemma Steele
2. Monte Lago (4) – Hannah Phillips
3. Nug’s Pocket (6) – Alannah Badger
Time: 0:59.50
Margins: 2 lengths x 2 1/4 lengths

Race 3 – Lewis Duff Memorial QTIS Maiden Plate (1000m)
1. Messageinabottle (7) – Cecily Eaton
2. Harvey Dent (3) – Kelly Gates
3. Purslane (9) – Jason Hoopert
Time: 1:01.41
Margins: Nose x 1/2 length

Race 4 – Warana Hotel-Motel BM65 Handicap (1465m)
1. Glenthorn Avenue (2) – Gemma Steele
2. Cooee March (4) – Robert Faehr
3. Louppy Bend (1) – Gregory Hayes
Time: 1:32.50
Margins: 1/2 long neck x 8 lengths

Race 5 – Neil Duff Memorial Class B Handicap (1465m)
1. Wensley Road (7) – Alannah Badger
2. Lucky Ticket (2) – Lachlan Dodds
3. Get Outa Utah (8) – Hannah Phillips
Time: 1:34.60
Margins: Neck x 2 lengths

The margin was much wider in the day's second race, with Liverpool Jane outpacing the fancied Monte Lago by a full two lengths

The feature race of the day - the Lewis Duff Memorial - was won by Messageinabottle, who narrowly squeaked over the line just a nose ahead of Harvey Dent; later, in the mounting yard, connections Taylor Ratten, Jordan Miller and Michelle Gill were presented with a trophy by Lewis Duff descendant Cedric Duff and Jeff Wenck from the South Burnett Race Club

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