Gladstone Turf Club’s meet one of 45 held throughout country
THE Gladstone Turf Club's Melbourne Cup Day races at Ferguson Park today will be part of a national network of whereby 45 race meetings will be held Australia-wide.
Such is the aura of the $6 million Melbourne Cup, race clubs throughout the nation will be attempting to draw on its magnetic appeal to racegoers.
In Queensland, some 13 other clubs as well as Gladstone will race on "the first Tuesday in November" while New South Wales tops the scorecard with 17 race meetings.
Victoria comes in third with seven; West Australia (3); Northern Territory (2); and the ACT will stage one meeting, as will South Australia.
Tasmania is the only Australian state without a race meeting scheduled although there will be a form of racing in trials at Longford.
The Gladstone Turf Club has a five-race morning card with 28 starters and the events being run at off half-hourly intervals from 10am.
This has been a longstanding format so as the thin ranks of jockeys can then service the Rockhampton meeting at Callaghan Park.
The Rockhampton Jockey Club embarrassingly has a record low four-race card with just 21 starters.
Jockeys are at a scarcity in Central Queensland - which is far cry from just 20 years ago when they were flourishing, along with Melbourne Cup races staged at Gladstone, Thangool, Wowan and Rockhampton.
Rockhampton trainer Darryl Johnston and jockey Scott Sheargold have excellent winning prospects in the first Gladstone race with Rose Of Tessie.
Premier apprentice Carly-Mae Pye returns after two unplaced rides at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, on Saturday with a hectic day planned.
Pye has a full book of rides at both Gladstone and Rockhampton races.
Her best Ferguson Park rides are appear as Rare Fine (Race 2) and Legal Dancer (3).
Ferguson Park gates will open early today on Tuesday and a large contingent of bookmakers will operate right throughout the meet.