Goondiwindi Race Club staged probably their most successful Cup meeting of recent times on Saturday with a large crowd in attendance.
The club had been well supported with a number of private parties and functions as well as the Vern Kleinschmidt Community Trust luncheon for beneficiaries and the very successful opening of the Birdcage, which now will be an annual event for Cup patrons following the sell-out success.
The Sinclair family are great supporters of Goondiwindi racing and very seldom go without at least one winner and Nathan made sure of it early in the day when Hussey's Hog reproduced his recent good form to win the 1200 metre QTIS Maiden handicap. Locally trained D'or Dame looked the winner on turning but Geoff Snowden produced Hussey's Hog at the right time as he soften does and was too strong in the last bit. Spezia Lady was third.
The Agri Smart Benchmark 60 over 1200 metres was a very open affair and Warialda trainer, Leon Cross saluted with Beau Dancer. This gave Jodi Worley the first leg of a winning double when she held off a determined finish by Bold Crossing. Top weight Only Choice was third.
Oakey trainer Bradley Hudson is another that is a great supporter of country racing and it was great to see Swift Response finish down the centre of the track to grab Scarlet Choice and give Jodi Worley the second leg of her double. Shelley's Dream led all the way and looked the winner for a good part of the race but just knocked up in holding on for third. Swift Response started at $7 in another very open field.
Great country racing supporter, Graham Banks produced Hidden Dragonin exceptional condition and was simply too good for the opposition which included six-time winner at Gunsynd Park - Free Billy. Hidden Dragon gave Sally Sweeny a deserved win in the Vern Kleinschmidt XXXX Gold Cup in track record time of 1.21.25. Punters where left speechless as $1.40 favourite, Free Billy appeared to have an easy run but found nothing when the pressure came on in the straight. Hidden Dragon held off a late challenge from Ready to Go Go and Fee Billy was third.
The Morgan's 1800 meter Benchmark 50 was a highlight of the day with the field jumping in front of the new mound and giving the big crowd a rare opportunity to witness close up how a race is actually started. Clerk of the Course Russell Mortimer got the biggest cheer of all as he cantered down the straight the first time to pass the finish post on the 1800-meter journey. Nonchalant was the early leader but 1800 meters is a long way and Nanango trained Demesne ridden patiently by Rebecca Goldsbury stalked the early leaders and was simply too strong in the run home. Demesne followed his good last start second at Dalby and stated the incredibly good odds of $4 after $5 was bet early. That's Nemo and Boltin Desire filled the minors.
Next meeting for Goondiwindi will be on November 30 and the club will stage a major Friday night on November 29 event in conjunction with PCYC that will see Rupert McCall on the Banks of the Macintyre. Patrons wishing to book their Christmas parties for the Bush to Port race day should make an early inquiry as interest is expected to surpass last year's demand.