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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


HAWKESBURY Race Club has received a record 244 nominations for their massive 10-race Hawkesbury Gold Cup program on Saturday.

“It’s a tremendous response, especially as we are a week earlier than normal this year to avoid a clash with the nearby Hawkesbury Show, and coming straight off the back of the Royal Randwick autumn carnival,” Hawkesbury CEO James Heddo said this morning.

“There are 34 entries for the $200,000 Group 3 Richmond Club Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m), with all the leading stables represented. Additionally, we have strong numbers across all of our supporting races on the day.”

“The track is currently rated a ‘Soft 5’, and if we can hopefully avoid some rain forecast for later in thr week, I’m confident we will present an ideal surface for the 10-race card.”

There are 29 entries for the $200,000 Group 3 Pioneer Services Hawkesbury Crown (1300m), 19 for the $200,000 Group 3 Blacktown Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m), and 16 for the $160,000 Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m).

Hawkesbury has extended nominations until 11 am today for only one race – the $150,000 St Johns Park Bowling Club 2YO Clarendon Stakes (1400m) – which currently holds 10 entries.

Sydney supremo Chris Waller, chasing his third Gold Cup success, having previously scored with Coup Ay Tee in 2013 and Amovatio in 2016, has six entries.

They are Bold Mac, Desert Icon, Lord Ardmore, New Mandate, Skyman and Yonkers.

Skyman is no stranger to the Cup 1600m, having won the Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury last August.

John O’Shea, who won last year’s Cup with Kirwan’s Lane, will be represented this year by Berdibek.

Team Hawkes, which has won four of the last nine runnings of the Cup with Leebaz, Kingsguard, Amangiri and Archedemus, has entered Superium and recent Group 3 Neville Sellwood winner Zeyrek.

There are two Victorian entries for the Cup; Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr with Visinari, and Bendigo-based Josh Julius with last year’s Group 3 Craven Plate (1800m) runner-up Just Folk.

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup has entered last start Warwick Farm winner Ausbred Flirt for both the Cup and Benchmark 88 Handicap (1500m).

He also has nominated Short Shorts, who last month broke the track record in winning a Kembla Grange Qualifier (1400m) of the Provincial-Midway Championship, for the Hawkesbury Crown.

Hawkesbury will offer $1.6m in prizemoney on Saturday, and the rail is back in the TRUE position. Gates open at 10.30am, and the first race is scheduled for 11.25am.

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