Adam Spinks sporting the silk that will interest those having a flutter at Kumbia on Melbourne Cup Day (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's GossipNovember 4, 2019

While serious punters will have done some exhaustive study before they head to the Kumbia betting ring on Cup day, other patrons will just be looking to have fun.

In the Kevin Taylor Memorial Class B at 12:55 pm, Life’s A Witch has some unscientific pointers in her favour.

The mare’s jockey Leeanne McCoy will don livery that features pink hearts.

That fits perfectly with the meeting’s backing of the McGrath Foundation’s Pink Up Your Town Breast Care Nurses Project.

The chestnut’s pedigree, with its Irish and New Zealand strains, has a sliver of a link to the internationalisation of the Melbourne Cup: her sire Excelebration (Ire) is a son of Exceed and Excel and there is a Cup theme through the “celebration” stem.

Life’s A Witch’s bad spell was broken when shed her maiden tag at Gayndah last month.

Begin, the third placegetter on that occasion, was narrowly beaten at Kilcoy on Friday.

In this opening race, apprentice Tessa Townsend gets a crack at achieving a personal ambition.

She dearly wants to land a winner for her parents, Peter Townsend, a trainer, and Rhonda Potter.

The duo share the ownership of Cool Chaos, the Court Command gelding that was placed at Nanango in September.

If you are not left tickled pink by the outcome with Life’s A Witch, there will be another chance courtesy of the hot pink jacket Gary Geran will wear on Splitz in the Cup.

The Sepoy gelding is prepared by Matt Kropp, the Toowoomba trainer whose stable was represented by the unplaced Spirit’s Choice in the Derby Day finale at Flemington on Saturday.

Kumbia trainer Royce Connolly has strong prospects in the Kumbia Cup with Chamberlain. His other acceptors on the day are Macmissile and Begin.

If rain descends on Tuesday, Cape Wickham, a new arrival to Queensland, will come into contention.

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FLASHBACK: Connections were all smiles after the 2015 Jim Lenihan Memorial, named in honour of one of Kumbia Race Club’s long-standing supporters (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Remembering With Appreciation

Racegoers could take a few moments at the course on Tuesday to read the racebook section that outlines tributes to several identities who made wonderful, long term contributions to the Kumbia Race Club’s operations.

Morris (Boy) Reed was a jockey, trainer, committee member and judge.

His wife Joyce, a lover of Kumbia racing, worked with the ladies committee and assisted with the catering.

Boy’s father was a founding member of the Club back in 1927 and his son Russell has maintained the family’s passion for the turf.

Jim Lenihan was a very popular player as a jockey, owner, trainer, punter and an energetic club supporter.

Kevin Taylor’s close involvement included race sponsorships by his real estate business while Paul Kempson was a reliable, industrious and versatile racecourse helper.

Helen Smoothy, along with her husband Kevin, owned the Kumbia Hotel, the venue for the annual Cup Calcutta and she was a Luncheon Hall worker.

Margaret Golinski also toiled away in the food department on race days and in other community scenarios.

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A shortage of jockeys will limit the number of horses taking part in this year’s Kumbia Races, but not the excitement the popular event always generates (Photo: Ross Stanley)

The Jockey Shortage

Frequently for run of the mill Saturdays of late, there have been insufficient riders to go around at various non-TAB venues.

Understandably, the spate of fixtures in the south-east on Cup day has triggered a shortfall.

Kumbia’s program drew wonderful support from the fraternity.

Although the total number of acceptors was the second highest of the ten non-TAB meetings across Queensland, only seven riders had been booked at the close of the jockey declaration period on Friday.

Last year, 15 jockeys worked at Kumbia and fields ranged in size from nine to twelve starters.

In a thrilling climax to the 2018 Cup, it was a dead heat between Land Office and Still The Same.

The latter’s part-owners Melanie Johnson, Chas Clifford and Gary Palmer hope to get the whole prize for the 2019 renewal with Thin Disguise.

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Clouds Have Silver Linings

When rain forced the recent abandonment of the 2019 Wondai Cup, disappointment was felt by many.

High on the list was Lindsay Anderson, the Hivesville trainer that races the defending titleholder Clouds along with his wife Jodie and the Bronwen Upjohn, the Victorian that broke in and pre-trained the Bradbury’s Luck gelding in his earlier days at Kilmore.

Seven days later, it was a different story when the gritty grey shone through to take out last month’s $24,000 Gympie Cup.

That fine performance, with Gary Geran atop, secured a spot for the veteran in Racing Queensland’s $105,000 Country Cups Challenge Final (0MWLY2 Quality,1600m) at Doomben on November 30.

The series has been shaped on similar lines to the Battle of the Bush.

Expect extra post-race excitement after Tuesday’s $10,000 Huston Motors Kumbia Cup because the event is also a leg of the lucrative initiative.

The final of the 16 chances to qualify across the state comes up on Roma’s non-turf circuit on Saturday, November 16.

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The Other Cup

The upcoming edition of the Melbourne Cup is very open but excruciatingly lopsided.

Twenty runners were born in the Northern hemisphere, two in New Zealand and just two have Australian “passports”.

Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien and his son Joseph collectively have seven of the two dozen aspirants in the line up.

Another complication for form analysts is the fact that almost a third of the field has not competed in Australia this year.

A disappointment is that a pair with Sunshine State links are both drawn very widely.

Surprise Baby (NZ) is by the 2009 Cup winner Shocking.

Street Cry’s son was raced by a Queenslander in Laurence Eales. The entire was runner-up in the Queensland Derby.

Vow And Declare, bred by Queensland’s Paul Lanskey, romped away with Glen Boss in the irons in the 2019 Tattersall’s Cup (3000m) at Eagle Farm.

Earlier, the Flemington based stayer beat all bar Mr Quickie in the Queensland Derby.

The Declaration of War gelding has impressed at his two subsequent appearances with a close fourth in the VRC Turnbull Stakes and a sterling second in the Caulfield Cup.

All may not be lost. Shocking jumped from gate 21.

Any by the way, Finche’s colours include a pink sash and cap.

Good luck on all fronts!

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