DUBBO Turf Club has received 147 nominations for this weekend’s Country Championship meeting with 17 of the region’s best in the running for the $100,000 Qualifier and the ticket to Royal Randwick.
The Turf Club will play host to the final of the Country Championship Qualifiers (1400m) on Sunday with horses from Dubbo and the Far West District racing for their chance to take part in the $400,000 final at Randwick on April 2.
The nominations for the eight-race meeting were released on Tuesday morning and Dubbo Turf Club general manager Vince Gordon was delighted with the numbers.
“It’s a good number and our wish list for the championship, and all the races, is for full fields,” he said.
“The championship will hold up and hoping everything else gets good numbers too but that (147) is a nice number.”
The first two past the post in Sunday’s feature race will advance to the rich final at Randwick and there is every chance they will be Dubbo horses with 11 of the 17 horses nominated being trained here.
Local trainer Clint Lundholm has two hopes put forward.
Any Blinkin’ Day is expected to be one of the favourites while Lundholm will also have Farewell Julia representing his stable.
Fellow Dubbo trainer Peter Nestor also has two nominated in the shape of Not A Shadow and War Groom while Frank Hayes has put forward Baites and Tropical Spirit.
Coonabarabran’s Wayne Martyn is the only other with multiple hopes with his duo Casino Whispers and With Angel Wings.
Darren Hyde’s The Flash One will head into the race in form following a strong win at Wellington on Sunday while Baites and Casino Whispers are also last start winners.
“The challenge will be when stepping up to this next level but the best of our chances has an incredible chance to race in a $400,000 event,” Gordon said, before speaking about the Country Championships as a whole.
“Both from a racing and horse point of view the concept has grown incredibly from last year and it’s really got the attention of trainers and owners.
“Guys now work from 12 months out targeting this race and everyone is keen to be part of it.”
As well as the Championship Qualifier there will be seven other races to keep punters entertained.
The Myer Class 1 Handicap (1400m) attracted the most nominations with 27 while the Lion XXXX Gold Class 2 Handicap (1200m) attracted 24.
As well as the racing there will also be a host of attractions away from the track.
“We’ve got a free barbecue from the gates opening to the first race and a jumping castle for the kids, on track quaddies and lucky race books so it should be a great day of racing,” Gordon added.