Alpha ready to put on a big show
ALPHA Jockey Club president Kevin Wiltshire is gearing up for a big crowd at the Alpha Community Cup Race Day at Fordham Park in Alpha on June 29.
It is a Central Queensland race date not to be missed by any racegoer.
The Alpha Cup Day has grown to be one of the pinnacles of country racing in Queensland.
The weekend doubles as an annual reunion for town and country folk and for friends and relatives who have left the region to return home for the weekend.
It all kicks off with the Alpha Cup Calcutta on Friday night at the Alpha Golf Club, where racing fanatics try to out bid one another on their way to snaring the winner of the $25,000 Alpha Community Cup.
The Alpha Cup Race Day also features the highly prestigious Alpha Jockey Club Fashions of the Field which has more than $10,000 worth of cash and prizes on offer.
Alpha Jockey Club boasts one of the richest, if not the richest, prizes for Fashions of the Field in regional Queensland.
Also this year the Alpha Jockey Club will offer a premium race day experience with the club hosting the Chandon Society marquee, with reserved seating in a premium location adjacent to fashions and the track.
But seats are limited, so get in quick if you want to grab yourself spot.
The club is also offering entry tickets for sale online.
To help the queue at the gate pre-purchase your ticket before the day.
As always Alpha racegoers will be treated to a very well-stocked bar and various dining options throughout the day and night in a food court style dining experience on the lawn.
The kids haven't been forgotten with some jumping castles and other entertainment in operation throughout the afternoon to keep them entertained.
Bareback will be back this year, performing after the races to keep the Alpha Cup crowd entertained until late.
A gold coin donation is appreciated for buses being run by the club before, during and after the races into the centre of town.
Gates will open at 11am and a lucky gate prize will also be on offer.
A big recovery breakfast will be available on Sunday morning.
A whopping $82,500 in prize money will also be on offer, making it one of the richest race days on the country Queensland calendar which always ensures a high calibre of country racing.
The feature event, the $25,000 Alpha Cup - an open handicap over 1700 metres - will attract a high quality field of milers stayers.
The Alpha Cup prize money has risen from $20,000 in 2018 to this year's purse of $25,000.
The other feature on the program, the Belyando Bracelet - worth $12,500 over 1000 metres - will also be sure to attract a field of top country sprinters.
Exciting times ahead for Gibson
LOCAL Goonyella Riverside Mine employee Claire Gibson has exciting times ahead, having been bitten by the racing bug.
Claire has an interest in exciting Stratum two-year-old Absolute Flirt, trained by Danny O'Brien at Flemington.
Absolute Flirt is raced by an all ladies' syndicate, with Claire joining her mother-in-law Rae Fletcher and her sisters-in-law Shannon and Jordan, all of whom also happen to be involved in glamour filly Sunlight.
Claire explained how her exciting journey started.
"My husband Doug thinks he's a bit of a gun punter and he picked this filly out with his step-dad Dan,” she said.
"Being a ladies' syndicate, Rae and I and Doug's sisters have all taken the chance to become involved.
"It's really opened my eyes. The most incredible thing is how much everyone involved, from the trainers to the strappers and stable hands, all love and care for the horses.
"The bond they share is something I didn't expect, and it's helped me realise horse racing is about a lot more than just gambling.”
A $100,000 purchase from last year's Magic Millions, an elevated temperature derailed Absolute Flirt's Magic Millions 2YO Classic quest.
That setback may prove a blessing, with the filly returning to the O'Brien stables in fine fettle.
On Easter Monday she was a dominant winner of an Open 2YO race at Sandown.
That win earned the rising star a trip to Adelaide and a shot at Stakes grade.
The gorgeous daughter of Stratum did not disappoint when once again winning under regular rider, the great Damien Oliver.
With Claire now expecting her and Doug's first child in September, she is nervously waiting to see how the promising filly's career unfolds.
"Doug and I arranged our wedding for a Saturday in August 2017 and the ceremony started at 3pm, exactly as Winx was running,” she said.
"I've never lived that down, so now with our baby being due in September, which apparently is the Spring Carnival, I've been told I have to make sure I don't go into labour on a Saturday!” she laughed.
Pioneer Park trainers make the winners' stall
ROSS Meek's trip over the Drummond Range returned dividends at last Saturday's Tree of Knowledge Cup meeting in Barcaldine over the May Day weekend celebrations.
Meek took out the Benchmark 50 handicap over 1300 metres on the program with Mr Resetti ridden by Scott Sheargold.
Mr Resetti looks well placed for Team Meek to win similar class events over the central country Queensland winter carnival.
At Yeppoon on Sunday, Emerald trainer Raymond Williams, who doubles as a picnic jockey and a hired gun on the picnic racing circuit with partner trainer Tracey Leake, also had a big win.
William, who only took out his trainer's licence earlier this year, saddled up the first winner on the program at Keppel Bay Park as a registered thoroughbred trainer with Hayyler's Tary ($9.00), in a 950 metre Benchmark 55 handicap.
The horse was ridden to perfection by Rockhampton apprentice Elyce Smith.
Williams has been a dominant figure in picnic racing riding ranks in outback Queensland for many years and has close to a full book of rides engaged at this weekend's Tower Hill meeting.