August 5, 2022
There’s a bumper eight races at Nanango Cup Day on Saturday … and bumper prize money for the Fashions of the Field competition!
The day will begin with the traditional Blessing Of The Jockeys to mark the start of the new racing year.
This is an opportunity to wish the riders well for the future and to express respect and gratitude to these professionals who are pursuing a very demanding, high-risk vocation.
The racing engagements jockeys get each year are just the tip of the iceberg in a game that is one of ups and downs – trackwork duties, educating horses and travelling to far-flung venues are just some of the many hours of toil jockeys put in which are often overlooked.
The 2021-22 premiership trophies will be presented on Saturday to Hannah Richardson and her husband Glenn, the defending champions in the jockey and trainer ranks.
Ask Audrey is the Horse of the Year. The Masked Assassin mare from Patrick Sexton’s yard made it a clean sweep for the locals. The veteran won at the track in February and June after prevailing on the circuit way back in 2018 with Hannah Phillips aboard.
Saturday’s meeting will also be offering some outstanding prizemoney for the Fashion on the Field competitions, which will have a Classic Racewear theme.
The winner in each gender division will pocket $500, with $200 and $100 for the runners-up.
Children haven’t been overlooked either, with the top trio pocketing $20, $10 and $5.
Racegoers will also get a chance to play with one of the 20 free betting vouchers that bookmakers have donated.
Nanango Cup Day is also an occasion to honour a pair of Nanango Race Club stalwarts through two memorial races: former long time chairman John Lee and committeman and starter Colin Ryan.
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The main event, the $10,000 Fitzroy Hotel Cheers Bundy Rum Nanango Cup, is an intriguing affair.
Firstly it is great to see the continued backing of this signature contest by sponsor Peter Jackson, mine host at Nanango’s Fitzroy Hotel.
Peter is also a wonderful investor in racing stock and a valued supporter of the Richardson stable.
When weights are published on the Racing Australia website, the True Weight is displayed.
True Weight is what the horse’s mark would have been if the minimum was not fixed at 55 kilograms.
Cup candidates with saddlecloths from five to nine would have received lighter assessments ranging from 51.5 down to 48.5.
Clearly, these hopefuls will carry imposts in open company that are well above what their actual record warrants.
Although Gratsie is seven kilograms above its True Weight, it boasts a course and distance record of 4:2-1-0.
The brown gelding is by Congrats (USA), the winner of an Alysheba Stakes in America. The now seven-year-old, when partnered by his Cup jockey Nathan Evans, blitzed his rivals in weaker grade at Nanango in June.
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Other Horses To Watch
Sunshine Coast mentor Krystle Johnston is attempting to make it three Cups for the Craiglea team from four renewals.
Executed (Jason Missen) and Craiglea Simmo (Andrew Spinks) are on the honour board for 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Craiglea Arion, their home bred representative this time around, is unbeaten after two mile assignments at Nanango and has won four more over the journey elsewhere.
Lillie Barr’s three kilogram claim will be more than handy.
A similar allowance for Emily Lang brings the Kylie and Corey Geran prepared Vinasta into the reckoning.
The I Am Invincible mare, a winner up to 1500 metres, was a very close second at Rockhampton last month and has harvested three placings from six starts over 1600 metres.
Meanwhile, the Richardson unit is trying to back up their 2021 Cup triumph with Vermutin.
Their aspirant is Muwarrad, a recent acquisition from the south that has thrived since making its Queensland debut in June.
The Wandjina gelding has picked up a win at Esk, a second at Gayndah and a third at Ipswich at his only outings here.
Ask Audrey steps out in the Star Motel Benchmark 65 Handicap.
Males have been her pilot for 17 of her 54 runs with all of her dozen victories attained with the fairer sex in the saddle.
Shania Willis, who booted home Flying Kass and Ask Audrey at Lee Park in June, again has the mount.
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Andrew and Karen Beck, since becoming proprietors of the Star Motel in 2016, have assisted various organisations with free accommodation nights as raffle prizes.
Pat Duff, the doyen of Deagon, has saddled up seven winners inside the last month.
He is pinning his hopes on Boom Chugga Lugga (Hannah Richardson) in the Nanango Taxi and Limousine Service BM 45.
The former South Burnett horseman has plenty of fond of memories of Nanango Cup days.
He combined with rider Les Hone to collect the 1970 trophy with Papilloma, and did likewise with Russell Thomas in 1993 with Bernie’s Boys and with Brad Harding on Duffs Remorse in 1995.
We are in line for a lot of excitement at Lee Park on Saturday!
PS: Please note that because Saturday’s meeting has eight races it will have an early start, with the opener scheduled for 12:15pm.
See you at the track!