What's On In The South Burnett Today?

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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The two-headed Roman god Janus looked both backwards and forwards, and was a popular figure on Roman coinage 2000 years ago (Photo: Wikipedia)

Gunsynd's GossipDecember 18, 2017

by Ross Stanley

With the Christmas-New Year period looming, it is fun to play Janus, the mythological figure often symbolised by a face that looks both backwards and forwards.

In review, 2017 has been fairly kind to the South Burnett racing world.

The area’s geographical placement has meant a constant inflow of participants from all points of the compass.

The action has been diverse and competitive with no players proving dominant.

In short, it has been a healthy year.

Although crowd numbers fluctuate for various reasons, there have been many meetings with very pleasing roll-ups.

Drawing folk from the virtual to the real world is a challenge not reserved to country racing.

It is also encouraging to note that the district is still a training base and almost every yard experienced joy in 2017.

On the state scene, the ongoing absence of Eagle Farm on the roster has been a potent disappointment.

The track that used to be known as Headquarters is now officially out of action until spring.

While it is a bitter blow to the general turnover, the Winter Carnival and Doomben’s workload, it is also a setback for gallopers who prefer the longer stretches the larger course offers.

An upside for the next few years is the funding certainty promised for rural racing.

Meanwhile, the proposed merger between Tabcorp and Tattersalls is expected to make progress in 2018. The man in the street has heard highly promising claims each time a new arrangement comes into play for what is now UBET.

A concern is that Queensland will now be a small fish in a much, much larger pool.

There is also conjecture about the fate of Radio 4TAB, if and when the new juggernaut trundles in, because cost cutting often occurs in these circumstances.

Maybe the new powers that be will settle for networks centred in Sydney and Melbourne.

* * *

The re-opening of the Nanango Race Club on April 20, 1968 (Photo: Nanango Race Club Collection)

Nanango’s Golden Celebration

The Easter Saturday meeting at Lee Park on March 31, 2018 will be of special significance, because it will mark the Golden Anniversary of racing’s return to Nanango on April 20, 1968.

On that occasion, around 2,500 patrons kept nine bookmakers busy.

This column will present a series of historical snippets in the coming months – but here are a couple of teasers for veterans to ponder over during the holidays:

  • Name the three entires that raced in Golden Slippers before taking up stud duties in the South Burnett?
  • Who was the leading campdrafter at the Goomeri Show who followed up by preparing a popular winner at Nanango’s re-opening program a week later?

Don’t forget to mention this reunion type meeting to family and friends when you catch up over Christmas.

* * *

Bits And Bridles

  • Brian Laherty has again scaled the heights with Machu Picchu. Last week, the Krupt mare scored first-up in BM 60 F&M company over 1100 metres at the TAB program at Dalby. Hannah English was again the pilot. The duo’s other three assignments had yielded a victory and two placings at Caloundra in August-September. The Nanango galloper has picked up a prizemoney cheque at each of her last seven starts. Laherty has done a wonderful job with the daughter of Manu Peru that he has saddled up nine times.
  • Great to note that Neville “Shorty” O’Toole broke through with Hidden Angel at Chinchilla on Saturday. Melody O’Brien was aboard the $31 chance that prevailed in the Class B (1030m). This was the Wondai horseman’s first visit to the winner’s slot since he made a comeback after a break of more than 11 years.
  • At Esk on the weekend, Hannah Phillips picked up some Christmas shopping money by saluting on Heluva Diva for Bradley Hudson’s Oakey team in the half mile maiden. Scott Pedron’s charge Stratalena (Adam Spinks, $2.50 favourite) was nosed out in the BM 50 (1750m). His fellow Nanango conditioner, Glenn Richardson, also had to be content with the runner-up money with Hopetoun Street in the BM 55 (800m).
  • Reminder: Nanango Race Club’s next meeting is on Saturday, February 24.

* * *

Best Wishes For The Season!

This column will be taking a festive season break and will return in late January 2018.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to everyone who’s helped with the information and smiles to the camera that underpin Gunsynd’s Gossip each week.

I look forward to talking about tales of triumphs achieved by South Burnett players again in 2018.

Do take extra care in the coming weeks – and Season’s Greetings to all!

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