Gilgandra gears up for massive two-day carnival

Gilgandra Jockey Club will be expecting bumper crowds on Saturday and Sunday for their Near Year’s Racing Carnival. Photo: Racing Photography.

Two-day carnival – Check  

Showcase Gilgandra Cup meeting on Sunday – Check 

Gilgandra Cup Calcutta – Check

Fashions, kid’s entertainment and genuinely good country racing – Check

The Gilgandra Jockey Club will be every racegoer’s dream on Saturday and Sunday, with the Western Districts club ready and raring to host their two-day New Year’s Racing Carnival. 

A cracking 48 hours of racing kicks off on Saturday, with Gilgandra hosting their TAB 2 SKY meeting, with six races carrying $90,000 in prizemoney, headlined by the Kate Smith Memorial Secretary’s Cup.

A waterslide and jumping castle will keep kids entertained and food, bar and bookies will keep punters and racegoers on their toes.

On Saturday night, there is the annual Gilgandra Cup Calcutta before Sunday’s eight-race Showcase program becomes the centre of attention nation-wide.

The program, which carries $260,000 in prizemoney, is headlined by the $45,000 Gilgandra Cup over 1600m, while the $30,000 Cooee Cup over 1800m and $35,000 Bob Foran Memorial Town Plate for the sprinters over 1100m will generate plenty of interest.

Kids will again be looked after with a waterslide and jumping castle, while food, bar and bookies are available and fashions on the field will keep action just as hot off the track as it will be on the track.

Trainers and owners are right behind the meeting too, with 345 nominations across both days of racing. 

Gilgandra Jockey Club president, Jason Tate, told the Gilgandra Weekly just what the two-day meeting meant to the club and their hard-working committee. 

“It’s a big deal for us, so we’ll try put on the best show we can,” Tate said 

“Again this time, we’re racing back-to-back, on a New Year’s weekend with Sunday being the showcase day with the Gilgandra Cup and Gilgandra Town Plate.”

In what was already a big two days of racing for Gilgandra, the club will host their first ever Showcase meeting on the Sunday, and Adam Hazleton, a prominent local owner and brother to local trainer, Kieren Hazelton, was tickled pink to see his local club boasting such a strong two days of racing. 

“This is the first year we have had a Showcase meeting and it’s great,’ Hazelton told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“We have a new President with Jason Tate, and he is trying to make sure the Showcase Day and the two days of racing are as good as possible for the television and the big crowd.”

The Hazelton stable has 16 gallopers nominated to race across both days, and Adam believed a massive crowd would be on course both Saturday and Sunday. 

“We will have plenty of owners there. We have in excess of 150-200 owners involved across the two days and we don’t expect them all to get there, but we will have a few. 

“Plus, the club is plugging it really well. There is a lot of interest, and the new curator is Grant Zell, and he has done an amazing job with the track and grounds, which are looking amazing.”

Hazelton and his team hope to have their entire 16-strong team in action at Gilgandra, with home-track advantage set to help the chances of the relatively new local stable.

“This is Kieren’s second cup meeting since taking over from my grandfather Bruce Parker who trained for 40-odd years,” Hazelton said. 

“He started off with five horses and at the moment, he has got 16 in work, and we are hoping all 16 get a run over the two-day period.

“That alone would be big for him as a trainer and hopefully we get a few good results.”

Gilgandra will be the centre of attention in NSW over the weekend, and despite being a tight-turning country circuit, Hazelton believed the course warranted Showcase status and the chance to promote good country racing. 

“She is a tight little turning track, but you can still win from anywhere,” Hazelton said. 

“On pace horses generally go well, but it’s a good track and good horses can win and it’s the best wet weather track. 

“We had three inches of rain there a month ago and they were still talking about running but there were still lingering storms around and they didn’t want to call the races off once everyone got there, but the fact that they were thinking of running just shows you how good the track is.”

It shapes to be another massive two days of country racing, and there is still time for punters and racegoers to make their way to Gilgandra. 

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