Mark Elliot to join ranks of Gympie riders
NO Gympie-trained horses will contest tomorrow's $10,000 Roy Groom Plumbing 100 Club Cup bringing to an end a great run of successes by locals in the year's first Cup race staged by the Gympie Turf club.
Since the inception of the 100 Club Cup in 2005, seven of the 13 100 Club Cup winners have been Gympie trained. The most recent was last year's winner, Saurimo (P. Romeo) from the Kerry Munce stable.
Gympie trainer Barry Gill has won the 100 Club Cup on four occasions with Nevada Gambler ('07), Burnett Dancer ('08), Harney ('13) and Celtic Dancer ('15) whilst Kerry Munce won the race in 2014 with Frenardi.
Nearest to a local hope this year is the Kilkivan based but trained on the Wondai sand, Endless Puzzle, who was an impressive, if surprise, winner, first up here at the last Gympie meeting on March 3 over 1030m.
At his start prior to a break, Endless Puzzle had won the $10,000 Battler's Cup over 1470m and so is unbeaten in his only two starts on the Gympie sand. One of the gentlemen of country racing. Ken Cavanough, will be commemorated with the other feature race in Gympie tomorrow.
The $10,000 Ken Cavanough Memorial Maiden will be dedicated to the memory of Ken Cavanough, who trained here for almost a decade after retiring to Gympie.
Ken, who dedicated his free time to serving the community, trained the grand galloper, Cavlon, who won a Lord Mayor's Cup in Brisbane amongst his 29 wins as well as Our Beech who won a Gympie Gold Nugget. The remarkable Cavlon won here at his 100th start as a 10-year-old and lived in retirement to the grand age of 30 years.
Another jockey in Mark Elliott is about to join the ranks of Gympie riders. Mark, who did most of his race riding in North Queensland, has been riding work in Gympie for some time and hopes to resume race riding after several years out of the saddle. He has ridden over 170 winners in his riding career enjoying most success at Townsville where he has ridden 62 winners as well as 21 at Charters Towers and 19 at Cairns.
The disappointing response of trainers and owners to the $10,000 100 Club Cup, which drew only five nominations despite nominations being extended, may lead to a re-think on the distance of the race in future.
Battle of the Bush
With trainers possibly readying horses for the upcoming Battle of the Bush series, the 1600m of the 100 Club Cup could be a little too far as the qualifiers for the Battle of the Bush Final are all over about 1200m.
Bundaberg and Nanango are to stage Battle of the Bush qualifiers in May with horses required to have started in at least five non-TAB races prior to the Qualifiers to be eligible.
Race programs have to be submitted several months prior to the race date and so this information was not available when the 100 Club Cup program was drawn up.
Generally, in country racing it seems, the longer the race, the fewer horses nominated. In similar circumstances next year it would appear that 1170m might be a more attractive distance for the 100 Club Cup.