The best of country racing will be on show at Coonamble Jockey Club on Sunday with the running of the Coonamble Cup, Crystal Sprint and Picnic Champion Series final.
The 1600m Coonamble Cup is an attractive target for top class country horses, carrying a prizemoney purse of $75,000.
As a result, the main race on the program is an open affair and the top two in the market come out of the recent Dubbo Cup.
Nick Olive’s Ready To Humble battled away for 5th, beaten 2.7 lengths at Dubbo, and at his start before, he finished 2nd, beaten 2.25 lengths in the Murwillumbah Cup behind the in-form Macchina Volante.
Aesop’s Fable was the surprise winner of the Dubbo Cup and Peter Sinclair gave her a trial in between, which she won well by 6.2 lengths, but she draws 18 of 19 in this event, therefore a lean place.
Matthew Dale’s, Banger, has drawn the carpark but that won’t matter as he generally goes back and will look to storm over the top of his rivals, after producing the best last 800m last start at Goulburn over the mile.
There is a handful of the field backing up out of The Panorama, and again, I like Clint Lundholm’s Notabadidea at an each-way price.
He held ground to finish 5th, beaten 5.6 lengths over an unsuitable trip, and last time he was tested around the mile, he finished 3.6 lengths off multiple Saturday city winner Wairere Falls.
The other two of interest out of The Panorama I like but have question marks on whether they run a strong mile are Bryan Dixon’s Ecker Road and Derek Piper’s Our Dasha.
2020 Winner: Petaluma ridden by Daniel Northey and trained by Danny Williams
Picnic Champion Series final
This year the Coonamble Cup meeting has a bit of extra buzz with the Picnic Champion Series final taking place, with the top 12 plus 4 emergencies earning their shot at the rich 50k prize pool.
Picnic meetings are a very important part of the Racing NSW calendar, with many of them the only race meetings for their towns and hardworking clubs and volunteers, so it’s great to see the picnic scene featured on our screens.
Brett Robb has a strong hand including favourite On A Promise that has won three on the trot, the latest at Narromine in a BM58.
The Dubbo galloper loves the 1400m (13:3-4-1) and Brent Evans looks to become the first jockey to win the Picnic Final twice.
Robb’s other runner is Combogolong, the least experienced runner of the field with only 12 starts, and he is in great form with five wins from seven starts this campaign and he stretched out to the 1400m first time last start, finishing 2nd, beaten 5.7 lengths.
If Capitulate can find a way into the race, he could offer great value. He won that race against Combogolong by 5.7 lengths and Troy O’Neile has him primed off that win.
Before that, he finished 1.3 lengths off the winner in a Class 3 at Moree.
Canberra trainer Doug Gorrel saddles up a pair of runners. Sestina is the clear top pick of the stable after a couple placings recently including a 3rd, beaten 0.8 lengths last start at Queanbeyan.
If Anaelle Gangotena can find a slot from a wide draw, he is a good chance.
It was a fantastic training effort from Connie Greig to qualify three runners in the final with all of them looking outside place chances.
My pick of the bunch would be 100 start veteran Malibu Stacy as she hasn’t been far away in two runs this prep after winning back-to-back picnic cups before spelling.
2020 Winner: Military Bay ridden by Ashley Boyd and trained by Mark Schmetzer.
Coonamble Tips: Race 1: Sizzling Star, Galbalan, Race 2: Akaka Falls, Smooth Esprit, Race 3: Bean Hot, Line Of Kings, Race 4: On A Promise, Sestina, Race 5: Super Chance, Without Shame, Race 6: Hurn Court, Gadfly, Race 7: Highlights, Mandalong Tapit, Race 8: Notabadidea, Aesop’s Fable, Race 9: Forever Jude, Danspur.
A bit about Coonamble
Lying out in the Central West Plains of NSW is the lovely country town of Coonamble, located only a two-hour drive north of Dubbo and not far from three natural wonders in the Warrumbungle National Park, Macquarie Marshes and Pilliga Forest.
As you drive into the town, you are met with classic old pubs and several art deco buildings, one being the unconventional attraction, the Nickname Hall of Fame, which features portraits of local characters and their nicknames thus earning Coonamble the moniker Australia’s nickname capital.
Other attractions to visit are the water tower mural, the Museum Under the Bridge, the Outback Arts and Creative Centre, which houses the works by local and regional artists, or visitors can take a stroll along the Coonamble Riverwalk.
However, the biggest attraction is the annual Coonamble Rodeo and Campdraft, the biggest in Australia, and held every June long weekend, which attracts thousands of spectators to watch bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and much more.
For full Coonamble fields, readers can click here.