Following massive nominations for Inverell Jockey Club’s popular Bush Battlers Cup meeting on Saturday, Racing NSW have made the right decision to split the feature race on the seven-race program.
Now, two Bush Battlers Cups, worth $18,000 each, will be run over the 1400m, catering for Benchmark 50 Handicap horses.
Inverell Jockey Club Secretary Karen Fontaine praised the administrative body for making the unusual decision to split the cup event.
“It was a very pleasant surprise because we definitely did not anticipate it,” Fontaine said.
“We are happy with the outcome, and we are happy that it wasn’t just the lowest benchmark horses put in one race and everyone else thrown into the second race.
“Both races are very even, and they look good betting races.”
The Bush Battlers Cup is a race close to the Inverell Jockey Club committee, and the late Don Bartlett, who worked hard to have the race created in the first place, will have his memory remembered and celebrated alongside the first of the two feature events.
Bartlett, a former long-serving President of the club, will have his family on track on Saturday, and Fontaine said having two cups was testament to his hard work and vision.
“Our previous president Don Bartlett worked extremely hard to get the Bush Battlers Cup going at Inverell,” Fontaine said.
“He would be chuffed to see us with two Bush Battlers Cups on Saturday. He was a long-term president here and he worked tirelessly for the club.
“He had the initiative for it and worked continuously with Racing NSW to see it happen and his wife Deborah and his family will be here on Saturday and that is great.”
Fontaine was thrown in the deep end though, with the secretary left to find a second cup for the two feature races at very short notice.
“Don’t worry, we managed to do that and get a decent second cup,” Fontaine laughed.
With the seven-race Sky 2 program aired to television and with the country able to bet on the program, Fontaine said strong fields should entice plenty of punting interest.
“My eyes lit up when I saw the fields because there is so much form and I think the punters will take to Inverell on the weekend,” Fontaine said.
“There are so many good trainers racing here for the first time and with our big 450m straight, everything will get their chance on the day.”
For full Inverell fields, readers can click here.