Trainers and owners will be the winners at Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) on Monday, with Racing NSW and the club choosing to split the $28,000 Battlers Cup.
The 1300m Benchmark 50 event was a popular target for trainers, with the race attracting 60 nominations, and despite the Battlers Cup being a feature event, meaning it carried extra prizemoney and a cup, there was no hesitation in splitting the race.
“It’s good to see them split that race,” said MTC President Geoff Harrison.
“Crossy (Kevin Cross) has got two cups lined up, and they will be the same level all the way through, which is great for everyone involved.”
Feature races aren’t typically held for lower class horses, but Harrison believes the popularity of their Battlers Cup/s demonstrates the need for these races, especially during the winter months.
“There were nearly enough nominations for three races,” Harrison laughed.
“We had 60 entered, and it shows how many of those horses are around and just how many are at that benchmark level.
“Especially at this time of year; the horses that are around, they are mud runners, and they might be that lower class because all of the good horses, like your (Benchmark) 78s, 84s and 94s are having a spell for the spring.”
Racing NSW should be commended for splitting the Battlers Cup at Wagga, with the practice of splitting races at country meetings becoming a more common occurrence in recent months due to the staggering number of postponed, transferred abandoned meetings due to the recent and unparalleled wet-weather event across the state.
Harrison said the MTC was always working towards doing the right thing by Racing NSW and their participants.
“It is a Racing NSW and steward’s decision to split races, and it comes down to the way the numbers stack up, but we are glad that they split the race and we are more than willing to run the extra race,” Harrison said.
“We have to be doing the right thing for the industry when so many horses nominate for the same race.”
Additionally, Racing NSW have added 2 extra emergencies to each race, meaning there will be 14 starters and 6 emergencies in both Battlers Cups.
“We usually only have four emergencies, but in races like this, we have at least six, so we are going to get full fields, which is great for everyone,” Harrison said.
For a Monday mid-week meeting, it will be a good race day at the MTC, who will also host the 2500m Riverina Cup Prelude on what is an packed eight-race-card.
“The Riverina Cup Prelude will turn into a pretty good race,” Harrison said.
“I was a bit surprised with the noms (nominations) and the acceptances, which is really great.”
Readers can click here for full fields.