Travelling trainers converge on Cobar

The Wayne Marsden trained Rebecca’s Quest will be hard to beat in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap. Photo: Racing Photography.

There will be added interest when the Cobar Miners’ Race Club meeting jumps off on Saturday, with some travelling trainers driving as far as six hours to race. 

Broken Hill trainer, Heidi Smith and Menindee’s Wayne Marsden left for Cobar on Friday, with the pair planning to camp the night on site before racing their teams the following day.

Smith couldn’t speak more highly of the Cobar Miner’s Race Club committee, which is why she is happy to venture down with just the two runners.

“I’ve had a couple of winners there, but a while ago now,” Smith said.

“I trained one of my first doubles over there too, it is a really good day.

“They do a good job, they look after the trainers, so I don’t mind going there.”

The Broken Hill trainer said a hard-working committee and good racetrack made it appealing to bring gallopers to Cobar.

“I speak with Prisky (Allan Prisk) a bit and ask him how the track is going, and they are always thinking about the track, and they are onto it early,’ Smith said.

“You always know you are going to get a good track at Cobar.”

Smith said her Cobar Cup chance, Chicago Nights, was an outside hope, but the visiting trainer was interested to see how the stable’s new addition, Meteor’s Man, would go. 

“We have one in the cup, but he will be an outsider but the other horse, he won last time at Mildura,” Smith said.

“We just bought him back, and hopefully he goes alright on the dirt.”

Marsden will join Smith in Cobar tonight, after making the six-hour trip from Menindee.

“Our first 160kms is dirt, so it takes a bit longer to get there,” Marsden said.

“I love going to Cobar, and I will support all the country meetings from Walgett to down as far as Narrandera, I am probably one of the most travelled trainers in NSW.”

Marsden does have added reason to race at Cobar, with his son Jarrod Marsden, the President of the club. 

“My son is the president there, and I like to sponsor Cobar, and if I’m travelling anywhere in the Western Districts, I stop in at Cobar, and there is no cost to use their facilities.”

The Menindee trainer has six runners engaged and he said the in-form Rebecca’s Quest would be hard to beat in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap, with the five-year-old having won four of her last five starts. 

“Rebecca’s Quest will be the best chance, she is going good and Orezira is a chance too,” Marsden said.

“He ran a pretty good second at Nyngan, and I expect him to back up and be competitive.” 

Cobar Miners Race Club President, Jarrod Marsden, was thankful to see both trainers venturing to Cobar, admitting it would be tough to race without their support. 

“It’s the difference between us racing and not racing, it’s as simple as that,” Marsden said.

“There support and1000s of kms travelling mean we can race.”

Cobar have an exceptional reputation for spoiling their trainers and Marsden said everything was in place to make sure trainers wanted to come back to Cobar year in and year out. 

“We understand where we are on the map and we don’t expect all trainers to come to us, so we make a special effort to make sure the trainers are looked after here,” Marsden said.

“They have their own canteen, we give $100 per horse straight to the trainer for coming here, win, lose or draw and it is these incentives we want to give to trainers to thank them for coming here.”

Beautiful weather has the Cobar course and grounds in terrific shape ahead of tomorrow’s meeting. 

“The sun is out, we are beautiful here at the moment and we are all set up for tomorrow,” Marsden said.

“The toilets are built and ready to go, there are eight bookmakers on track, and we are set up for a perfect day.”

Gates open at 11am and the first race jumps at 1.25pm, and for racegoers, there is over $2500 in prizes for fashions on the field, a bar, canteen and kids’ entertainment.