Quirindi prepares for popular Willow Tree Cup meeting

Quirindi Jockey Club will race on Saturday when holding their annual Willow Tree Cup meeting. Photo: Quirindi Jockey Club Facebook page.

Saturday’s Willow Tree Cup meeting at Quirindi Jockey Club is shaping up as a big event both on and off the track. 

112 runners have been nominated for the six-race-program which will be headlined by the Willow Tree Cup, a 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap that has attracted 25 potential runners. 

Quirindi Jockey Club Secretary Manager, Ted Wilkinson, explained why the Willow Tree Cup meeting was an important day for the club

“The meeting has been around since 1983,” Wilkinson said.

“It promotes businesses in the village of Willow Tree, which is 15km south of Quirindi, and the meeting is very well sponsored and the town looks forward to the meeting.” 

The town of Willow Tree might not have their own racetrack, but the community will be buzzing on Friday evening, with an already booked-out Calcutta set to build nicely into Saturday’s meeting in Quirindi.

“For this meeting in particular, we expect a lot of people will travel across from Willow Tree, because we have the Calcutta,” Wilkinson said. 

“It’s being held at the Willow Tree Inn and the dining room is already booked out, so they’ll be flowing into the TAB room, and it should be a good night.”

Off track, there is fashions on the field and punters can expect a good day of racing. 

“There is fashions on the field for the men and women and the winners will receive a sash, and $100 worth of flowers,” Wilkinson said. 

“There are four bookmakers coming, which is double the number we normally get, and that is probably because of the good racing.”

2020 Willow Tree Cup winning trainer, Mark Ostini, has Mr De Niro nominated as his main chance in 2021, while at this stage, the Melissa Dennett trained Ballast is the number one ballot in the race and will be the top weight at 64kg if connections decide to accept.

Local trainer Geoff O’Brien, who has Gold Skye nominated to race in the 1600m benchmark 50 Handicap, said the course was in good condition and based on the nominations, he thought it would be a good betting meeting. 

“They have done a heap of work on the track, and it’s been patched up since the last meeting and it looks pretty good,” O’Brien said.

“It’s on a weekend and we should get a few people and I think there will be chances in every race, so it should be a good day.” 

The Quirindi Jockey Club will open their gates on Saturday at 11am.