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.
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
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
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
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
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
Margins: Neck x 2 lengths