Bush battlers converge on Inverell 

Inverell Jockey Club will host their Bush Battler’s Cup and Diggers Cup race day on Saturday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Inverell Jockey Club will host the always popular Bush Battler’s Cup on Saturday, with a capacity field set to do battle in the $19,000 Benchmark 50 Handicap. 

32 horses nominated for the race, and after acceptances, 14 will start over the 1400m journey, while there is the maximum of six emergencies.

While it goes against the grain to have the lowest class race on the program running as the feature, Inverell Jockey Club president Peter Tanner said it was all about giving those lower-class gallopers a fair chance.

“It’s the Bush Battler’s Cup for a reason,” Tanner said.

“A lot of people don’t realise that it is reverse ballot so lower-class horses getting priority.

“The way it worked out, you’ve got your better horses down the bottom that probably won’t get a run, and this race gives those horses further up a good chance to win. 

“We haven’t had many of those little once-a-year meetings because of Covid or the wet, so it gives these horses that normally wouldn’t win a TAB race a chance at winning some good prizemoney.”

The 1800m Diggers Cup is also on Inverell’s six-race-program, which has attracted good fields with 79 acceptances, but Tanner conceded jockey availability might keep the fields to 12 or 13. 

“I am stoked. It’s really good to get full fields, and now our biggest problem is getting jockeys,” Tanner said. 

“We had 12 at last count but we can only see what happens; hopefully we can get a couple more to come along.”

The Inverell Jockey Club will host the meeting on a good four surface, and Tanner said it was a relief to be preparing a track that isn’t rain-affected. 

“The track has dried out and we have had big pumps in the middle pumping the dams and trying to get the water table down,” Tanner said. 

“It’s refreshing to have a good surface to race on. It’s been so wet for so long, and all the other poor tracks down south and in places like Moree have copped a pisling, but we have been fortunate to race, and we are working hard to make sure we can keep racing.

“It’s good for the trainers and horses, but it will make it hard to pick a winner because you will want to find horses with form on good tracks, which might be a bit hard.”

Tanner is expecting a decent crowd on Saturday, with the club and town building up for a big end to the racing season, which culminates with their Boxing Day meeting on December 26 and Inverell Cup meeting on January 1.

“It’s a good time of year, and we have got a lot of Christmas parties booked in, with businesses and sponsors supporting the club,” Tanner said. 

“There is fashions on the field, and it should be a really good day as we have 27 degrees and no rain.

“I don’t think there is much else on in town; usually we clash with footy or cricket, but this weekend is pretty clear, and I reckon we will see a lot of locals at the races.” 

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Inverell Tips

Race 1: 6 Miss Rebel $11

Race 2: 5 Outta De Lady $4.20

Race 3: 2 Hardyo $5.50

Race 4: 5 Full of Flavour $10 (best value)

Race 5: 1 Pyrmont $7 (best bet)

Race 6: 7 Jade $3.80