by Barry Fitzhenry
Celebration of Gympie racing
THE Gympie Turf Club's 100 Club Gala Draw Dinner is set down for Saturday evening, February 3, to begin the 2018 Racing year in Gympie.
Gympie Turf Club president Shane Gill said that the club was delighted with the rapidity with which Gympie businesses and individuals came forward to support local racing by becoming members of the 100 Club.
Only a couple of spots remain vacant in the 100 Club at time of writing, with this initiative providing the major sponsorship for the year's racing in Gympie.
Membership in the 100 Club costs $550 with all members guaranteed a minimum prize valued at $1000.
This year's major prize is an open travel voucher valued at $4500 plus naming rights to the 100 Club Cup.
The prize draw will take place on February 3 with the 100 Club Cup race day to be held on April 14.
This year's 100 Club Cup race day will feature three $10,000 races viz.
Remembering an icon of country racing
THE 100 Club Cup (a Benchmark event over 1600m), plus the Ken Cavanough Memorial maiden over 850m and a QTIS Maiden rounding out a very attractive card.
The Ken Cavanough Memorial is to become an annual event commemorating the former icon of country racing.
Some other special events are being planned for 2018 to celebrate 150 years since the first Gympie race meeting in 1868.
The first races in Gympie were held on December 30 and 31 at the height of the Gympie Gold Rush on a rough track hacked out of the scrub near Widgee Crossing.
Final plans for a special Gympie race meeting in November will be announced in the near future with this meeting being the nearest to the December anniversary of Gympies first race meeting.
Funds for thoroughbreds
PRIZE money increases for metro and provincial racing, from February 1, are to inject an extra $8.6 million into thoroughbred racing.
Metropolitan premier stakes races will have prize money boosted from $60,000 to $70,000 with mid-week city races increasing to $25,000.
Maiden races at regional TAB Clubs such as the Sunshine club will increase by $1000 to $15,000 with regional provincial clubs prize money per race boosted by $2000.
The $12 million in extra prize money (to commercial TAB racing) across the three racing codes was made possible by the government's decision to fully fund non-TAB racing across the state thus removing this financial imposition from Racing Queensland.
The fact that the $12 million is to go to commercial TAB racing seems to imply that country racing (i.e. non-TAB racing) may miss out on any prize money increases in the near future.
The racing record of the $1.4 million yearling at the 2016 MM sales provide a cautionary tale for the big spenders at the current MM yearling sales.
Maiden win for Notting Hill
RACING as Notting Hill, three year old filly (by Pierro from the Danehill mare, Monsoon Wedding) broke through for her first win in a 1250m Kempsey maiden this week after an unlucky third at Taree at her first race start.
Notting Hill has so far returned $12,955 in prize money on the $1.4 million outlay for her as a yearling.
Again all is quiet on the country racing scene this weekend.
Gatton races today whilst Gympie next meeting is not until March 3.