The Berrigan Cup

Maryanne and I headed over the border to Berrigan for the cup. Berrigan is the only track in NSW where horses run the Victorian way. It’s most famous racing family are the Honeychurchs.
Bert, a legend of the track, trained for many years, winning the regional trainers award numerous times, training a string of top line runners, including horses such as Honoured , and Sovereign Rose, winners at all the Melbourne tracks. His son Chris followed in his footsteps, but had his career cut short when he  suffered a tragic motor accident.

My favourite Honeychurch horse was Allez Bijou.  A winner of the Geelong Cup in 1981 , and the Wagga Cup twice, 1981 and 1984. As well he won Group races in Melbourne including the Sandown Cup in 1981, the Dalgety(now the Lexus) in 1982, the VATC Eclipse in 1983  also being an unlucky second to Magistrate in the 1982  Perth Cup. Not a bad track record.

So, over the border we went, catching up with friends Michael, and Dale. Then from there to Berrigans Federal Hotel for a quick coldie, prior to arriving at Berrigan race track, which was in its finest spring splendour. From across the region race goers attended, many resplendent in their best apparel. Finding a shady spot we settled in to see how we’d fare. The day opened with a 1500 metre maiden, where the Jodie Bird trained Cabramurra Road duly saluted.

The big race for the Day was of course the Berrigan Cup, the fifth on the card. The favoutite was the top weight Regular Aussie, trained on track by Mick Hartney, a horse who won this race in 2011. However the handicappers weighted it severeley, allocating 61 kilos, though its hoop, Brodie Loy, claimed 4 kilos to reduce the load to 57.  However no other horse in the race carried more than 54 kilos. As it turned out Regular Aussie ran a brave second, beaten narrowly by Brillianconi, whose jockey Carryn Donwie carried 50, 1/2 kilos, due to a 4 kilo claim. The  contrast in weight made a big difference between finishing first and second, none the less congratulations to the connections of Brillanconi.

Riding honours for the day went to young Jye Mcneil, who brought home two winners. Apprentices rode four of the six winners for the day. Training honours were shared, with all six winners being from different stables. Of the locals Emma Steel had the best day, with a winner in the fourth with Ski Espirit and a third in the last with First Defence. As we mentioned the Mick Hartney trained Regular Aussie came second in the Cup, with the other local horse being prominent was the Michael Rice trained Danz Citi, who carried 61 kilos into second place in the last.

I had a woulda/coulda/shoulda, day. Six races, six bets, four seconds, one third, and a fourth. Why did I change my  mind in the fourth, and not take the local, Ski Espirit? A pleasant day was had by all, with the hospitality from the locals being much appreciated. All in all Maryanne, and I enjoyed our visit to Berrigan race track, where we hadn’t been since 2006.  Now if we can get the Quaddy on Melbourne Cup Day, that’s something we would appreciate this spring carnival.



  1. Good one Glen.I love a day at the country races but have to sneakily admit to having a great day at the Cox Plate this year (first time)
    David Heywood was a jock I often followed – I think he trains in Wagga now

  2. G’day Oges. Dave Heywood has a few links to Berrigan. I’m fairly sure when he was riding he was apprenticed to Bert Honeychurch. More recently he trained a handy bush sprinter El Veloz, which ended up being trained in Berrigan by MIck Hartney.


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