June 1, 2018
Nanango Race Club’s Autumn meeting last Saturday was full of surprises, not the least of which was a surprise visit by Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.
Mr Hinchliffe, who grew up in Dalby and is also Queensland’s Local Government Minister and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, put aside some of the more arduous jobs he’s been dealing with lately to take in the Nanango round of the Battle of the Bush racing series.
Earlier this year, Lee Park was one of 16 Queensland rural race clubs selected to host a round of this new competition, which is designed to boost regional racing by giving country owners, trainers and horses a shot at big-time racing on a city track.
The winner of each club’s Battle Of The Bush race will go on to Doomben to compete in an exciting $100,000 final that will be held on Tattersall’s Tiara Day, June 23.
On Saturday, South Burnett trainer Glenn Richardson had three horses in Nanango’s Battle Of The Bush race and struck gold with two of them: winner Canid and runner-up Revelio.
After correct weight was declared, Mr Hinchliffe presented the prize to Glenn and happily posed for the cameras.
Saturday’s meeting was held in bright autumn sunshine and drew a good-sized crowd to the track, including a busload of visitors from Goomeri who’d come for Sunday’s Pumpkin Festival and were looking for an afternoon of country racing beforehand.
The meeting was also St Mary’s Catholic College’s annual day at the track, and the college brought a busload of their own staff and P&C members to witness the running of the St Mary’s Catholic College Handicap.
Another popular annual race was the Nanango RSL Gary and Margaret Banks Memorial Handicap, named in honour of former Nanango race club stalwarts. Many members of the Banks family came to the track to cheer winner Machu Picchu across the line.
Former Nanango trainer Tom Greenslade and his wife Helen and their friends also had good reason to celebrate as they watched the day’s first race, the Happy Wedding Anniversary Tom And Helen Greenslade Maiden, which was won by 15-to-1 longshot Mr Judge.
The Nanango Race Club added to the festive mood by staging a bonus sixth race after the day’s official five-race program concluded.
Half a dozen Arabian horses nominated to race a metric mile distance, although only five started when one of the jockeys fell ill at the last minute and a replacement rider couldn’t be found.
The tiny horses – most not much taller than the jockeys astride them – took to the course for a rarely seen novelty race in the lengthening afternoon shadows.
Punters didn’t have a particularly good day of things, with no favourites winning on Saturday (although two did score second place).
As usual, the club’s bars and dining room did a roaring trade and the day’s races ran without any mishaps, though three riders did receive reprimands for minor rule infringements.
The next local race day will be the South Burnett Race Club’s Winter Race Day at Wondai on Saturday, July 7.
Nanango Race Club’s next meeting will be held on Saturday, August 11 and will feature the 2017-2018 Premierships awards; the annual Blessing Of The Jockeys ceremony to mark the start of a new racing year; and the always hotly contested Nanango Cup.
Race 1 – Happy Wedding Anniversary Tom And Helen Greenslade Maiden Plate (800m)
1. Mister Judge (4) – Cecily Eaton
2. Brayd Heart (6) – Brooke Stower
3. Tent Lover (10) – Jason Hoopert
Margins: 3/4 length x 2 lengths
Race 2 – Nanango RSL / Gary And Margaret Banks Memorial Ratings Band 0-60 Handicap (1000m)
1. Machu Picchu (4) – Billie-Rose Andrew
2. Boaz (1) – Hannah Phillips
3. Mac’s Boy (3) – Brooke Stower
Margins: 2 lengths x 1 1/2 lengths
Race 3 – St Mary’s Catholic College Class B Handicap (1200m)
1. Courting Joy (2) – Rebecca Williams
2. Past Dark (3) – Hannah English
3. Cartagena (6) – Shane Shield
Margins: 1 3/4 lengths x 1 1/2 lengths
Race 4 – Heritage Nanango Battle Of The Bush Qualifier – Open Plate (1200m)
1. Canid (7) – Brooke Stower
2. Revelio (9) – Alannah Badger
3. Go Get Sum (10) – Nathan Evans
Margins: Short half head x Nose
Race 5 – Nanango Vet Suyrgery BenchMark 50 Handicap (1600m)
1. Lake Argyle (4) – Jason Hoopert
2. Bowies Bayconi (10) – Brooke Stower
3. Can He Rap (11) – Alannah Badger
Margins: Long neck x 3 3/4 lengths