GUNNEDAH Jockey Club’s Christmas Hams Race Day meeting attracted an astonishing 190 nominations on Monday.
The annual seven-race meeting, where all winning trainers receive a magnificent Christmas ham, had plenty of rivalry too with Tamworth racing on Monday and Muswellbrook Race Club’s Muswellbrook Cup meeting on Friday.
The MRC’s $100,000 Muswellbrook Gold Cup (1500m) is the feature race Friday and it attracted 27 nominations but the eight-race TAB meeting, also a Showcase meeting with a $50,000 Sprint as a main support race, had just 144 nominations.
The seven-race Gunnedah meeting attracted almost 50 more for one race less.
“Wow,” was GJC secretary Mark Storey’s initial response when told of the 190-strong tally.
He had been busy answering telephones and enquiries and hadn’t been able to check the nominations when they appeared this morning.
“That’s amazing, I’m really shocked by that. 45 noms in one race. Gees, we might have 10 races. They are great fields, we’re really with that and most of them are all locals (trainers),” he said.
He said the club could not be happier with the response given the fact it was wedged between the Tamworth and Muswellbrook meetings, especially with the fact some $350,000 in prizemoney was available at Muswellbrook for their Showcase meeting on a track rated a Good 4.
“We’re a Soft 6 at the moment, had some good rain but will be better by Saturday,” Storey said of a meeting which has also had a great response from racegoers with the marquees all full and sponsorships overflowing.
“We’ve got two busloads coming from Somerton and Tamworth,” he said.
“Got people coming from the Central Coast, a bunch of people from Sydney and a heap from Newcastle.
“It’s a big Christmas party. The marquees have been full for a couple of weeks. Last year we had 750 in the marquees, this year we have more than 800.”
The feature race at Gunnedah is the $20,000 Mannion Drilling/Ultrafleet Christmas Hams Cup (1500m). While one race had 45 nominations the Christmas Cup had 14 and has had nominations extended until 11am on Tuesday.
“So we could end up with more noms,” Storey laughed.
“It’s a record I’d say, haven’t that many nominations before.”
MANNION DRILLING/ULTRAFLEET CHRISTMAS HAMS NOMS (Benchmark ratings listed where available): Evangelist (Lea Selby) 65, Image Of Love (Paul Grills) 60, Kilmarnock (Lea Selby) 61, Lady Marmaletta (Rebecca Dunn) 65, Latitat (William Wain) 66, Lonely Orphan (Lesley Jeffriess) 64, Macmissile (Bill Farrow), 49, Mysticism (Campbell Roberts) 58, Quietly Confident (Cindy Monaghan) 56, Rockatorio (Troy O’Neile) 49, Sculptures (Craig Bermingham) 54, Spinning Gold (Damien Lane) 63, Wild Cavalier (Gayna Williams) 66, Zoutenant (Dar Lunn).