July 8, 2018
Rain on Friday night and overcast weather on Saturday didn’t stop the South Burnett Race Club holding its annual Winter Race Day, nor did it stop a good-sized crowd turning up at Wondai’s racecourse.
The sand track had received a 15mm drenching on Friday night which had club officials screening it from early in the morning.
But punters who braved the overcast conditions were rewarded with a fun day of racing action that saw sunny, cloudless skies chase the storm clouds away just past the meeting’s mid-point.
Acceptance numbers for Saturday’s five races were also markedly lower than usual, but this had nothing to do with the weather.
Instead, recent bumper programs at Gatton and Ipswich drained the pool of available talent, limiting the number of starters in one of the day’s race to a just four.
Only one favourite took the money.
The rest of the day’s winners ranged in price from 3-to-1 out to 8-to-1, ensuring good returns despite limited betting options.
As usual, the bar and colourful trackside tents were packed with stylishly dressed patrons, and the barbecue, chips stand and race club canteen all did a steady trade throughout the day.
Wondai’s Winter Race Day is sometimes known as Duff Day because two of its races are memorial events for South Burnett Race Club founder Lewis Duff and his son, trainer Neal Duff.
Their descendants were out on the track in force, along with Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff (a relation) who regularly organises the popular Fashions On The Field competition.
This year the club also held a special race to honour patron Roy Radunz, who was awarded an Order of Australia medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Roy has been involved with the South Burnett Race Club for more than 50 years, as well as the Wondai Show Society, Meals on Wheels, Neighbourhood Watch, Driver Reviver, Garden Club and many other local community groups.
Roy’s race was run in the middle of the day’s program and was won by the highly fancied Canid under the stewardship of well-known Nanango trainer Glenn Richardson.
Canid had Japanese jockey Miki Nakao aboard, and she was clearly elated to score her first Queensland win.
Miki began her Australian campaign in Coffs Harbour last December and it has so far seen her score three wins on NSW tracks, but Saturday’s win in Wondai was her first north of the Tweed.
This year’s Neal Duff Memorial was won by Limestone Cowboy for Sunshine Coast trainer Trevor Thomas, while the Lewis Duff Memorial was won by Money Ad for Miles-based trainer Bevan Johnson, who won Racing Queensland’s Country Trainer of the Year award in 2017.
Race 1 – Hams Crane Hire BenchMark 50 Handicap (1100m)
1. Monte Lago (4) – Hannah Phillips
2. Lomi (5) – Jason Hoopert
3. Revelio (2) – Miki Nakao
Margins: Head x 3 1/4 lengths
Race 2 – Supa IGA Kingaroy QTIS Maiden Plate (1100m)
1. Lion Coming (6) – Robert Faehr
2. Cimarron Kid (3) – Hannah Phillips
3. Bloomin’ Arry (1) – Mark Elliott
Margins: 2 1/4 lengths x Head
Race 3 – The Roy Radunz OAM BenchMark 65 Handicap (1000m)
1. Canid (4) – Miki Nakao
2. Liverpool Jane (1) – Gemma Steele
3. Al’s Briefs (3) – Mark Elliott
Margins: 1 1/4 lengths x Neck
Race 4 – The Neal Duff Memorial Class B Handicap (1465m)
1. Limestone Cowboy (1) – Louise Dillon
2. Life Be In It (3) – Jason Missen
3. Return Flight (8) – Alannah Badger
Margins: 2 1/2 lengths x 1 1/4 lengths
Race 5 – The Lewis Duff Memorial Openm Handicap (1465m)
1. Money Ad (5) – Hannah Phillips
2. Clouds (3) – Jason Hoopert
3. Claim The Throne (4) – Kelly Gates
Margins: 3 lengths x 7 lengths