Clarence River Jockey Club (CRJC) Executive Officer Michael Beattie declared the excitement of the 2021 July Racing Carnival was already in the air when the club held its final race meeting ahead of the popular annual event earlier this month.
On June 12, more than 430 racegoers took advantage of the warm winter sunshine and headed the trackside for the Ulmarra Chip-In Cup Race Day, with several young families enjoying a day out together.
With the track rated a Good 4, and the rail out 6m, it was also the perfect opportunity for trainers and jockeys to test the course proper under racing conditions with 73 horses competing throughout the six-race program.
Astute Grafton trainer Dwayne Schmidt won the first three races with Monica’s Cigar (Race 1) and Dubai Eagle (Race 2), both ridden by local hoop Ben Looker, breaking their maidens in impressive style and ensuring punters got off to a favorable start before Manapouri Miss (Race 3), gave the bookies a reason to cheer when the filly saluted at the odds of 12/1 after racing on the speed and kicking strongly inside the final 200m under the urging of jockey Allan Chau.
Local racegoer Jackson Hayes said he was pleased he backed the filly after listening to his five-year-old daughter Lillie, who told him Manapouri Miss would win because she had a pretty name.
“She (Lillie) likes to pick the horses which she thinks have the cutest names and after it won, Lillie told me I can use my winnings to buy her a bigger cubbyhouse, so I think she had it planned the whole time,” he said with a smile.
Mr. Hayes said while he plans to attend the 2021 July Racing Carnival, which begins on June 27 with the Westlawn Black and Gold Race Day, he said Lillie would be visiting her grandparents in Inverell instead.
The feature race on June 12, the Commercial Hotel Ulmarra Chip-In Cup, Benchmark 50 Handicap was won by New Zealand bred gelding Honovi, prepared by Port Macquarie trainer Matthew McCudden.
During the race meeting, the CRJC also paid tribute to Daryl “Albert” Gleeson, a well-known member of the local sporting community, who recently passed away after a long battle with illness, aged 53.
Describing him as a man who was loved and admired by everyone who knew him, Mr. Beattie said “Albert” would be forever missed, but never forgotten.