August 6, 2019
Saturday’s Nanango Cup race meeting drew the biggest crowd seen at Lee Park so far this year … and also one of the most unusual.
While the meeting is always a popular outing on Nanango Race Club’s annual calendar, this year the course also welcomed a visit from 200 people taking part in the annual Fraser Coast Dunga Derby.
The Derby raises funds for Rally For A Cause, a charity that supports families and individuals affected by life-limiting medical conditions or those who have had their lives disrupted by circumstances beyond their control.
Each year, teams of rally drivers set off on a mystery four-day course somewhere around Queensland, and this year it was the South Burnett’s turn to play host.
The Derby teams spent their first night in the region at the Lake Boondooma Tourist Park.
Early on Saturday they began streaming into the South Burnett Equestrian Club’s grounds next to the Nanango racecourse so they could set up camp and change into their raceday finery.
Derby drivers, navigators and their passengers started appearing trackside soon afterwards.
They were easy to distinguish from the local crowd by their total disregard for the meeting’s “Classic Black and White” fashion theme, opting instead for a mind-boggling array of outfits that covered everything from Scots kilts to inflatable horses.
Well-known South Burnett saxophonist Tom McKenzie serenaded them with a string of classic jazz and blues favourites.
And as rally driving is known to be thirsty work, the Race Club’s bar and canteen was stocked with extra provisions to accommodate the visitors.
As August 1 is the birthday for all horses and marks the start of a new racing year, the day began with the Race Club’s traditional Blessing Of The Jockeys ceremony, which was performed by Rod Morgan.
Jockeys then saddled up for the first of the day’s six races.
Racegoers and Dunga Derby participants continued to arrive, culminating in a Fashions parade so big entrants had to form a conga line in front of the covered seating area for judging.
The Nanango Cup, which was first run 160 years ago, was the main race of the day but surprisingly drew the smallest field, with just four horses lining up at the barriers.
But the small number of entrants didn’t prevent keen punters having a flutter, or packing the track to see Executed dash across the line a length ahead of its nearest rival.
Nanango Race Club president Andrew Green said he was very happy with the day’s turnout, and pleased the Dunga Derby had chosen the meeting as part of this year’s itinerary.
Race 1 – Huston Nissan QTIS Maiden Plate (1000m)
1. Super Leon (1) – Gary Geran
2. Brigalow Queen (11) – Hannah English
3. Craiglea Oscar (9) – Robert Faehr
Margins: Long head x 3 1/4 lengths
Race 2 – J.A. Lee Memorial/National Jockeys Trust BenchMark 60 Handicap (1000m)
1. New Alliance (1) – Paul Hamblin
2. Brad The Lad (4) – Melissa Cox
3. Pipemajor (10) – Anna Bakos
Margins: 1 1/2 lengths x length
Race 3 – Deb Frecklington MP Class B Handicap (1200m)
1. Siouxsie (9) – Hannah English
2. Mont Mont (3) – Beau-Dene Appo
3. Swagman (10) – Rebecca Goldsbury
Margins: 1 1/4 lengths x 4 1/4 lengths
Race 4 – McDonald’s Kingaroy BenchMark 65 Handicap (1200m)
1. Brat Attack (2) – Robert Faehr
2. Haylee Prince (5) – Hannah English
3. Man Overboard (4) – Hannah Phillips
Margins: Length x length
Race 5 – XXXX Fitzroy Hotel Cheers Liquor House Nanango Cup Open Handicap (1600m)
1. Executed (1) – Jason Missen
2. Fasta Than Light (2) – Hannah English
3. Gud Onya (3) – Anna Bakos
Margins: Length x length
Race 6 – Heritage Bank Nanango BenchMark 55 Handicap (1600m)
1. Half Moon Blue (10) – Cecily Eaton
2. Marlahn (3) – Damion McIntosh
3. Shadow Empire (5) – Robert Faehr
Margins: 2 1/4 lengths x length