Some of Monica Ryan Demircan’s family and friends at Wondai (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's Gossip

October 23, 2021

It was very fitting that female riders dominated the show at last Saturday’s Wondai race meeting that included the running of the Monica Ryan Demircan Memorial.

They swept the card with a haul that included three trifectas and two quinellas.

Common sense prevailed. The ten competing ladies were allotted the larger jockeys’ room.

Next door, with plenty of space, were four males who collectively picked up two third placings.

Although no one matched Monica’s 1990 feat when she chalked up a quadrella, Hannah Phillips secured a double with Oakfield Comanche and Igbo and Gemma Steele did likewise on Aratula and Not Liable.

In the Roy and Glenis Radunz Wondai Cup, Billie-Rose Andrew prevailed on Sugar Buzz, the chestnut that was saddled up by her husband Brenton.

Sugar Buzz, in making made it two from two at the track, earnt a spot in the $105,000 Country Cups Challenge Final (1600m) at Doomben on December 4.

It was another perfect tally of five from five for the women at Stanthorpe on the same day.

On this occasion, it was against the odds with five lasses taking on seven lads.

A definite advantage of country racing is its closeness to the action.

Patrons on the outside fence get a real appreciation of the skilful determination of the jockeys.

Wondai makes for easy viewing.

The turn out of the straight in the longer contests clearly displays the sandy conditions the pilots face up to!

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A happy Billie-Rose Andrew aboard the 2021 Wondai Cup hero Sugar Buzz ( Photo: Ross Stanley)

Next Up Is Kumbia

At the Kumbia Hotel on Sunday, October 31 at about 2:00pm, the traditional Melbourne Cup Calcutta will get folk into the swing for a wonderful day at “the Flemington of the Bush” two days later.

It is worth nothing that on the Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30pm, the Kumbia and District Historical Society’s Museum at the Federation Heritage Centre behind the Hall will also be open.

It is important to do some homework before heading out on November’s first Tuesday to the Kumbia Racecourse-Golf Course on the Bunya Highway.

First and foremost is the online purchasing of entry tickets at

At this web page, you can also order racebooks, platters and Wine and Cheese Bar seating.

Print the tickets at home and remember to bring cash as there are no ATM facilities at the track.

Mobile phone reception at the course is also a bit dodgy, so while Covid QR code scanning logos will be available at the gate, they may not work at times because of signalling problems.

In these cases, manual entries may be necessary.

Buses will run to and from The Carrollee Hotel in Kingaroy, and you can phone (07) 4162-1055 for bookings.

Check out the Kumbia Race Club Facebook posts for details of camping and caravan possibilities at the neighbouring Francis family’s Easy 8 Farms.

For safety reasons, the course is a dog-free venue. However, BYO chairs and pop-up gazebos are welcome.

The Fashions Of the Field theme is “Splash in Pink”, which ties in with the meeting’s support of the #pinkupyourtown project that aids the McGrath Foundation’s quest to provide local breast care nurses.

Another item to contemplate competing in is the Dash For Cash foot races that are usually staged late in the day.

For event enquiries, contact Myolene Voller, the Kumbia Race Club Vice President, on 0407-645-574.

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A furious pack of competitors head up the straight at Wondai as they contest the 2021 Monica Ryan Demircan Memorial (Photo: Ross Stanley)

The Kumbia Program

Last year’s Kumbia Cup card offered base prize money that ranged from $8000 to $10,000. This time around, purses start at $11,000 and reach $12,500 for the Kumbia Cup (1400m).

The increases illustrate the depth of community commitment by businesses and families.

The Cup sponsors, Huston Ford of Rogers Drive in Kingaroy, have been the feature’s backer since 1970.

A half century of continuous patronage is an unbelievable contribution!

Deb Frecklington MP, Raine and Horne Realty at Kingaroy and Nutrien AG Solutions, the specialists with agricultural products and services, are linked to the $11,000 QTIS Maiden Plate (1200m).

Rohan Voller Denture Studio at Corndale Road in Kingaroy, Powersafe and Nutrien Livestock are helping with the $11,000 Class B (1000m).

Liberty Fuel, at Youngman Street Kingaroy, is associated with the $11,000 Benchmark 60 (1200m).

The $11,000 Benchmark 50 leg of the Burnett To The Beach Series is a dedication to the memory of some outstanding community members.

The race recognises members of the Lenihan, Smoothy, Reed and McConville families.

Jim Lenihan, whose brother Brian is the incumbent Kumbia Race Club President, was a very popular racing participant as a jockey, owner, trainer, punter and an energetic local turf supporter.

Win Lenihan was Brian’s much-loved wife and also a stalwart at the Kumbia track.

Helen Smoothy and her husband Kevin, the K.R.C Patron, operated the Kumbia Hotel. She also toiled away in the race-day Luncheon Hall.

Morris (or Boy) Reed was a jockey, trainer, K.R.C committee member and judge. His wife Joyce played a part with the club’s ladies committee. Russell and his late wife Jenny kept up the family’s love for the sport. Boy’s father was a foundation club member in 1927.

Josie McConville, who passed away in May aged 93, was a fantastic fundraiser for the Cancer Council of Queensland, particularly with her long standing “Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea” gatherings.

The tireless stalwart also played a pivotal role in Birds of a Feather, a local group composed of cancer survivors, their friends and family. The squad had a team in the South Burnett’s annual Relay For Life.

A practical way to remember Josie is to don a Splash of Pink and donate to the Pink Up Your Town initiative.

Melbourne Cup Day is an entrenched element of the nation’s cultural heritage and Kumbia is a vibrant strand in that fabric.

So make the most of this glorious Spring weather – get to the course on November 2!

A jockey’s eye view of what it’s like to race on the sand at Wondai (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


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