In a recent Racing NSW announcement, the Gundagai Cup date has been shifted from April 10 to April 3, swapping places with the Murrumbidgee Turf Club meeting.
It is believed the date change was to help the Wagga club cash in on a bigger crowd that is expected to be in town that weekend, with the NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm to be played at McDonalds Park on April 9.
Gundagai Adelong Race Club President Mick Crowe said the earlier than usual date wouldn’t impact their preparations and he confirmed that the winner of the Gundagai Cup would still gain automatic entry into the $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup on May 6.
“No, it doesn’t impact us,” Crowe said.
“We are still running as a precursor to the Wagga Gold Cup and the winner is exempt from the ballot, which is a huge drawcard for us and a reason why we generally attract some handy horses.”
The date change could be a blessing in disguise for Gundagai Adelong Race Club, who on April 10, would have been competing for horses with Goulburn (April 7), Canberra (April 8), Leeton (April 9).
Now racing on April 3, only the Sapphire Coast meeting on April 1 will clash, and still the impact should be minimal, meaning potentially stronger fields than ever for the $34,000 Gundagai Cup feature and eight-race-program.
“There is that possibility it could work out very nicely for us,” Crowe said.
“We will have no competition with local tracks and they should be the strongest possible fields leading into Wagga, which is good for everyone involved.”
The added intrigue of The Big Dance – a $2 million final at Royal Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day for horses that have contested eligible country cups – is another reason why trainers will target Gundagai on April 3, with the 25 eligible tracks yet to be confirmed by Racing NSW, meaning there is the chance the Gundagai Cup could be included.
“You just don’t know if we might be included,” Crowe said.
“We have the Snake Gully Cup later in the year and the Gundagai Cup is a prelude to the Wagga Gold Cup and we attract some nice horses and there is no reason it couldn’t be included in The Big Dance.”
Gundagai trainer Jim Scobie also believed the date change could benefit the club and racing industry in the Southern Districts.
“The Gundagai Cup is effectively a nice lead-up race for those big races and it will suit us much better making us standalone in that sense,” Scobie said.
“There also appears to be lots of horses looking for runs, and having that meeting where it is; we should see a lot of horses entered.”
Scobie will be racing Wild Buckeroo, and his son Ben Blay will venture down from Muswellbrook as well, with two chances set to race.
“I will have Wild Buckeroo in, and I wanted to start him there because Ben in coming here with Krayzelburg and Married, so it will be a big day for family and friends.”
It also shapes as a big day for the race club, who will host a Ladies Day Champagne Lunch and more details can be found on the ‘Gundagai Adelong Race Club’ Facebook page or for a full program, readers can click here.