As Melbourne vividly illustrates, Cup Day is a big occasion. That stays true from the city to the bush.
Take a couple of this weekend’s offerings for example.
You can’t scan the upcoming fixtures, as I do, without taking a second look at the Queensland meeting listed for Saturday at Texas. The immediate questions are “Where is it?” and “Why the name?”. I actually referred to the place last year, noting that it was a small farming town near the NSW border, nearish to Goondiwindi, with the trivia posting of the birthplace of TV newsreader Peter Hitchener. Its naming is far more interesting, as Wiki alleges….
“The origin of the town’s name is generally regarded as a reference to a territorial dispute. The land in the area was first settled by the McDougall brothers, who found squatters there on returning from the goldfields. Once their legal right to the land was recognised, they named their property in honour of the rather more famous dispute between the United States and Mexico over territory in Texas, USA”!!
Cup Day is a five race programme with the “big one”, the Texas Cup, being an Open 1200m worth $8,000 – they seem to only have a 900m and 1200m start. As usual, fashions, bar facilities and bookies.
The highest profile Cup Day this weekend, “bigger than Texas” if you like, is Sunday evening’s bumper Sha Tin extravaganza. From what others have told me, the tip is to get to HK by today (Wednesday), enjoy the fantastic “Jockeys Challenge” night at Happy Valley and then indulge Hong Kong before the massive International Meeting which features the Group Ones Cup, Mile, Vase and Sprint. Not surprisingly, these are fantastic races and the coverage is exceptional.
Unfortunately, due to needing to post this by Wednesday evening, fields for both Texas and Hong Kong Cup days are not yet finalized. Hopefully we can browse them during breaks in the cricket over the next few days. Here’s one novelty market posted early (with hot %)
The highest profile meeting in Australia this Saturday is certainly at Ascot. Plenty of Black Type is on offer, with the highlight being the Group 1 Kingston Town (PR8, 1800m, WFA) in which Railway winner LuckyGray takes on Guineas champ Itsahymn. The field looks skinny – Mr Moet is the only other under 10/1.
I’ll be at Caulfield of course where the lineup seems better than last week – but not justifying the MRC’s reversion to a longer day. Highly rated Lord Of The Sky resumes in the first but there’s been a huge tip for Kav’s. Might be interesting.
Chase The Rainbow returns in the first leg of the Quaddy. He’s an enormously talented galloper but injury prone. I just hope he stays sound. 4,6,7.
The second leg is tough. Consider 1 and 7 at odds.
5 and 14 amongst a 3rd leg raffle.
Looking for the “big numbers” in the last with 12,13,15.
Warning***** about 90 seconds spent scanning the chances – desperately needing guidance.
With beautiful weather forecast and Christmas shopping to be avoided, I recommend the provincial venues in Victoria this Saturday – Avoca, Balnarring and Stony Creek are as good a trio of tracks as you could hope to visit….so much better than Chaddy, Southland or Knifepoint.
Wherever they are held there are committees working feverishly to present a memorable outing and there are owners looking for a framed photo for the pool room. As we know, whether it is Hong Kong or Hawkesbury, Mt Isa or Mt Gambier, Darwin or Devonport…a winner is a winner! And we need to find ‘em.