Goodness this article was started on Monday but the computer gremlins have held me at bay . Anyhow, here we go. Maraynne and i set off Saturday morning for the drive to Donald. For our journey music is an essential , so a collection of CD’s were packed including the Slim Dusty tribute, not So Dusty. The sounds of Slim Dusty and people covering his tunes was amongst the music which we heard on our journey. On the much spoken about Camooweal, we heard both Slim sing the original, with Ed Keupper and Felicity with the Oxley Creek Playboys doing a wonderful cover. Arriving on track, on a grey drizzly day, we were warmly greeted by the hospitable local racing folk. We caught up with our friend Helen, and to the well positioned public bar we proceeded. This glass building, adjacent to the finish line, is a great vantage point, as well as keeping us in from the elements.
On the heavy track it was a day for outsiders. The quaddy, with numbers 4,5,1 & 8 paid a healthy $68, 299.90, with a lucky winner. The First Fours also paid well , a number of big ones here. To our chagrin we narrowly missed out on a percentage of the race 5 First Four, which paid a healthy $8, 310.80. We did a flexi, umming , and ahhing over the last number in our combination. Me saying the 2 , Maryanne stating the 1. The numbers were 4,8,13, 1, with Maryannes judgement being superor to mine.
None the less i finished up marginally in front for the day. In the last, the Mick O’ Leary trained Welcome Ned saluted, giving me a nice return.
An interesting piece of horse symetry occurred with the quinnellas in Race 2, both in Donald and at Moonee Valley. The T & K O’Sullivan partnership trained the winner at Donald, Poppys Boy, with the Darren Weir trained Stylish Lily running second. In the big smoke this pair of trainers got the quinella but in the different order, with the Darren Weir trained Gotta Take care saluting, the O’Sullivan trained Stable Star running second.
Jason Lyon took the riding honours for the day with a double, saluting in the second and the fifth. Michelle Payne won the first, but only had a couple of more rides. It was good seeing her ride a winner here, after the bad fall she experienced on this track a while back. Dean Yendall had a good book of rides, including a few favourites, but he had to suffice with three seconds. On a more positive note for him, it was announced his wife, fellow hoop Christine Puls is having a break, due to being pregnant with their first child. Congratulations are in order here.
Post race it was back into town where we caught up with Rowan, at the Mount Jeffcott. He’d had a pleasant afternoon there watching the footy and partaking in a beverage or two. For us a we had a pleasant evening to round of a nice day. A few coldies, and a good meal from the Jeffcott, then the four of us headed across to the Shamrock, now renamed the Bullocks Head, for a few night caps.
Donald races are a nice day out. A big thankyou to the ladies from the East Wimmera Health auxilary who catered superbly in the public bar . Loved that vegie soup !!! The Donald Cup is run on Sunday November 17. I think we’ll go again, with me being interested if Mick Hartney again brings Regular Aussie down from Berrigan. He came second in 2012, can the old fellow do one better this year?