The highlight of the Limestone Coast Harness Racing calendar rolls into town this Saturday night for the 2021 Matthews Petroleum Gold Cup. There are 12,000 reasons to take home the prestigious Gold Cup, while the Mount Gambier Trotters Cup, Pacing Derby and four other races are also on the jam-packed schedule at Greenwald Raceway.
Although the fields were not available at the time of print, Mount Gambier Harness Club president Simon Phillips expects a strong field to race for the big prize headlined by many locals, while last year’s winner Alcatraz Lass will not return to defend the trophy. “Last year’s winner was from interstate, so it will not be racing again this year, but some of the locals have not won it before,” he said. “I know our premier driver Jayson Finnis has not won it yet and will be looking for a cup, neither has Mark Phillips.
“Brent Howard has won a couple, but no doubt there will be plenty of competition from the drivers from over the border.” Greenwald Raceway has already played host to 10 events this season and the holy grail takes centre stage this Saturday night.
Phillips said it has been a challenge completing races without the usual convoy of Victorian entries, but still believes many will converge on Mount Gambier’s home of harness racing. “All year we have struggled with numbers due to COVID and border restrictions because we rely a lot on Victorians to come over which has been difficult,” he said.
“Hopefully we get all seven races on that are programmed, but we are bit light on for two-year-old’s from over the border. “But touch wood things are looking pretty good, so hopefully we can get at least five or six races on and it will be a good night.”
Phillips also revealed there is a major cash incentive for the winner of the marque race. “All of the country cups around South Australia are $10,000, but the club has pinched in another $2000 to make it the second richest cup in the state behind only the SA Pacing Cup,” he said.
Ponies races are also expected to take place, while there will be plenty of action off the track. Kids can have go on the jumping castles and the Punter’s Club will be operating for the adults, while catering will cover all ages. Racing is expected to start at 6.30pm.