Gold rush hits Mount Gambier

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Gold rush hits Mount Gambier

Mount Gambier will be hit with a gold rush tomorrow as the biggest prizes in Limestone Coast pacing, chasing and racing go on the line in the next 10 days.

The fun begins tomorrow when Glenburnie Raceway comes back to life for the anticipated return of the Scott Group of Companies Mount Gambier Gold Cup.

The biggest and most glamours prize in South East thoroughbred racing has stayed in the trophy cabinet for 848 days, but will finally return tomorrow.

Race fans do not even need to wait another 24 hours before another Gold Cup goes on the line at Greenwald Raceway where the trots take over the spotlight on Saturday night.

To complete the golden trifecta, the 42nd Carlin and Gazzard Mount Gambier Gold Cup hits Tara Raceway next Sunday, but before then, heats need to be completed this Sunday.

It will be heaven for pacing, chasing and racing fans, who will soak up every minute of the action.

Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club president Simon Phillips said he could not recall a time when the Matthews Petroleum Mount Gambier Pacing Gold Cup was so close to its equivalent at Glenburnie and believes it will be great for the town.

“We think it will create extra interest because we are having our Calcutta on Friday night in conjunction with the Greyhound Club,” he said.

“It could be something where all three codes get together and make it a week of racing in the future.

“I cannot recall something like this happening before and it can be a way of growing our industry.

“Gawler did a similar thing, so we could make it a week-long celebration of racing.”

Final fields for the Mount Gambier Racing Club Scott Group of Companies Mount Gambier Gold Cup were not out at the time of print, but the nominations were in.

A total of 145 entries threw their hat in the ring to compete across the eight races.

All eyes will be on the opening meeting of the day which is the big one and 22 horses are hoping to race for the $54,750 cash prize.

There are a decent number of locally trained horses in the mix with Lee Creek’s Air Time expected to wear the number one.

Bob and Kane Post work together out of a Mount Gambier stable and have six horses heading to Glenburnie including Bassons and Fast Foils in the Gold Cup.

Wayne Walters is represented by Brigadier which won its last start in Mount Gambier last month and has been quietly preparing ever since, while Haleakala and Steven James is also in the mix.

Mount Gambier’s Trevor White has been training horses ever since Sgt. Pepper cured his lonely heart in 1994 and his focus is currently on Clever Man which has shown some strong form in recent meetings.

Another Blue Lake trainer Richard Wilson is hoping Heir Of Tavistock can keep building on its recent form.

Rising Mount Gambier jockey Jacob Opperman rode the six-year-old Gelding to top-three finishes in its last two starts, while the Wilson stable is also represented by Hista Holyfield.

He is one of just two local trainers to get their hands on the Gold Cup.

Walters and Wilson have won the race twice each and will be desperate to win the race to a third.

Another local trainer based at Yahl is Peter Hardacre and he has high hopes for his horse Sebonna.

Sebonna is one of the most successful horses to be trained from Hardacre’s facility and is in golden form having won four races in the last six months.

It will be the trainer’s first ever Gold Cup and he is pumped up for a big day.

“This will be my first run in the local cup, so it will be a nice one to get in the trophy cabinet if we are lucky enough,” Hardacre said.

“We have loaded up for the meeting with seven runners, which we hope will be a nice advantage.

“We have Sebonna in the cup who is in really good form.

“He has only had the one run since the Naracoorte Cup to keep him ticking over.

“He has to run over 2000 metres, so he needs to be fresh and ready to do that.

“But the nominations are a lot stronger than any of the other races he has been in.

“Mount Gambier is a very strong racing area, so to have been without any racing for so long has been tough, so to get the track back will be fantastic.”

Few events carry as much history and pedigree in the Limestone Coast as the Scott Group of Companies Mount Gambier Gold Cup.

Apart from a couple of brief breaks due to the second World War and track work, it has been one of the biggest events on the Mount Gambier social calendar since its inception in 1879.

There is a clear form guide for Saturday night’s Matthews Petroleum Mount Gambier Pacing Gold Cup after the heat was completed last Friday.

Many of the same drivers and horses will return to Greenwald Raceway this weekend and they will all be trying to catch Royal Speech.

The combination of driver Jayson Finnis and Royal Speech proved unstoppable as the pair stormed home to take a commanding win.

However, the likes of Brent Howard riding Do not Need An Excuse and Rod Barker onboard Springfield Affair will be determined to get to the line first and add another Gold Cup to their trophy cabinets.

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