Stampede of horses keen to run at Gladstone
COUNTRY racing is set for another magical race meeting at Ferguson Park racecourse in Gladstone on Saturday, which will overflow with racegoers and racehorses.
The attractive six-race program has drawn no fewer than 61 horses, which is indeed testimony to the popularity and current strength of horse racing in the harbour city.
The feature races, the $15,000 Gladstone Cup (1608m) and the $12,000 Newmarket (1194m), have drawn some very strong class horses.
Fittingly, the Gladstone Turf Club's newest race, the inaugural $8000 Wayne Wilson Memorial BM 60 Handicap (1000m), contains a capacity field.
It would be ironic if the top weight Bagabob could win, which would certainly be a highlight for its Rockhampton-based owner-trainer Kathy Mylne.
Ms Mylne is a relative of the late iconic race caller Wayne Wilson, who was born in the Gladstone district and commenced his calling career there as a 13-year-old in 1960.
Mr Wilson always enjoyed calling Ms Mylne's wonderful sprinter Western Brace during its many sojourns to race in Brisbane where it won multiple races.
"I'd love to win this race named after Herbie (Wayne Wilson's Christian name) and can only hope Bob (Bagabob) can do it for me," Ms Mylne said.
Continuing the recent trend of visiting jockeys competing at Capricornia race meetings, some six will bolster the local ranks today.
Gun Rockhampton hoops Adrian Coome and Dale Evans are in for a busy weekend.
Mr Coome rides Direct Debit (Newmarket) and Brillanconi (Cup), while Mr Evans pilots El Supremo and Knowing Me in those two races.
Both jockeys will ride 1177km north tomorrow at the Cairns Cup meeting.
Mr Coome drives back to Rocky on Saturday night and flies to Brisbane at 6.45pm, where he overnights before flying direct to Cairns in the morning.
Incredibly, Mr Evans will make the long trek by road. "I've done it before and it doesn't faze me," he said.
GTC president, the passionate racing man David Weinert, is over the moon at the response to Saturday's cup meeting.
"Looks great on paper and I'm predicting a bumper crowd. There is a feel-good attitude in the city about the races and that is going to transform into an enthusiastic and vibrant race crowd," Mr Weinert said.
The first race of the extended six-race card at Gladstone starts at 1pm, with the last to be run at 4.40pm.
Gates open at 11am.