The Gunnedah Jockey Club was forced to extend nominations for Saturday’s Manilla Cup after a “disappointing” response to the $10,000 race.
After extending nominations until 11am on Wednesday, the GJC received only five acceptors for the 1600m feature race on a six-race TAB program.
The club had initially received seven nominations for the race.
The GJC also extended nominations for the 2700m North West Stayers Challenge until 11am on Wednesday, with fears the race may have to be scrapped, but nine acceptors were received.
GJC secretary manager Mark Storey said the lack of interest in the Manilla Cup was the result of “a lot of competition” from rival meetings – Muswellbrook on Monday, Coonamble on Sunday and Tamworth the following day.
“That’s [five acceptors] quite a small number,” he said. “Anyway, it is what it is – we’ll still have a good day.”
He added: “We rarely get fields that small – not for the main features. But that’s all right. We’ve got other events on the card.
“We’ve got a 2700m race [the North West Stayers Challenge] that’s got nine [runners] in it – which is a bit of a spectacle.
“Originally we only had six nominated, and then we got an extra three – and they’ve all accepted, which is even better.
“I was worried that we might not get enough acceptors and we might lose that race. But we got plenty. It’s great.
“I might be disappointed with one [the Cup response] but I’m really happy with the other.”
The Manilla Cup, an open handicap, was won by Armidale gelding Melted Moments last year.
The Paul Grills-trained gelding son of Any Given Saturday is the top weight (59 kilograms) for Saturday’s Cup, and will be ridden by Allan Chau.
Melted Moments has raced twice at Gunnedah’s Riverside Racecourse including a seventh to Congelator in this year’s Curlewis Cup.
Mudgee trainer Gayna Williams had nominated two from her stable – Wild Cavalier and Dapperized – but only the latter will run. Set to carry 55kg, Dapperized will be ridden by Greg Ryan.
Inverell trainer Scott Dixon has entered Punton Bernardini. Baroque Girl, trained at Moree by Peter Sinclair, and the Lea Selby-trained Evangelist round out the Cup field.
Storey said the track was rated good three, with no rain forecast.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.