Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

FIELD OF DREAMS; Sizeable List Nominates for Sunday Races

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

FIELD OF DREAMS; Sizeable List Nominates for Sunday Races

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Elkerton

RACING: For months Clarence River Jockey Club chief executive Michael Beattie has harboured concerns the scheduling of the time- honoured Walcha Cup tomorrow would negatively impact the number of runners lining up on Sunday's Blues, Brews and Barbecues Yamba Cup Race Day.

But he can now sleep easier, with a strong field of 142 nominations across the day providing potential for dramatic racing action for local racing fans.

"It was a very unusual clash, with the Walcha Cup running only days before the Championships qualifier," Beattie said. "But we are very happy with the standard of nominations for this meeting.

"If it was further from the Walcha meeting, I am sure there would be more nominations but still we are very happy."

Beattie said the track is expected to host a number of external bookmakers in the betting ring for the feature meeting, which will deliver more options and potential for better value for money betting options for punters.

Running the $150,000 Country Championships qualifier in conjunction with the three B's race day has proven a successful marriage of quality racing and increased social activities and Beattie expects a large crowd will turn out for the event once again in 2017.

"Blues, Brews and Barbecues is a day where we traditionally get massive support from the local community and plenty of faces through the gates," he said. "There is a jumping castle, face painting and plenty of free activities for the kids as well as eight hours of live blues music.

"With entry prices only $15 for adults, I wouldn't think you would get the same value for money anywhere in town."

While there is plenty to keep racegoers entertained, they will not have to look past the track for the best entertainment of the day with the $150,000 feature welcoming the best runners to Grafton outside of the July Carnival.

But it will not be a clear-cut finish for the foreign runners with a strong field of Grafton horses champing at the bit to book a dream start in the $400,000 Country Championships final at Royal Randwick in April. …

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