Turf Chat: Strong fields for Ipswich Cup Day
THE week of the Channel 7 Ipswich Cup has finally arrived.
Up until Saturday's Stradbroke Handicap meeting at Doomben, there had been underwhelming attendances during the Queensland Winter Carnival. However a strong attendance on Saturday of more than 17,000 helped to build momentum for racegoers.
The stage is set for another bumper day at Ipswich on Saturday.
Despite announcements last week of Racing Queensland administration changes, there appeared to be few people concerned on Saturday - and that is the way it should be.
The only area of interest for racegoers needs to be the racing and on-course atmosphere.
That is the way it was on Saturday for Srikandi's Stradbroke win.
The same is expected this weekend at Bundamba.
Strong nominations, just short of 150 in total, were received yesterday for the Ipswich meeting.
In the Ipswich Cup, there are nominations from New Zealander Bachelor Zeel, South Australians Baligari and three-year-old filly No Tricks, which is a former New Zealander, as well as Victorian Banca Mo.
An intriguing runner is the Irish-bred Vodnik, which placed at Kempton Park in the UK prior to joining the Sydney stables of Chris Waller last year.
Vodnik then moved in December to the Gold Coast stables of Bruce Hill and has raced in SEQ since, including a smart five length win over the Cup course at Ipswich in January.
Unlucky 2014 runner up Noisy Ocean has been brought back for another crack at the Cup by Gold Coast trainer Bryan Guy following an easy win at the Gold Coast two weeks ago.
Last year's winning trainer Tony Gollan has nominated Hi Son.
Robert Heathcote is in with Volkhere and Melbourne Cup winning trainer John Meagher has Shotover River entered.
There have been strong nominations for the other two listed races, the Eyeliner Stakes and the Gai Waterhouse Classic.
Group 1 winning and millionaire earner Victorian Smokin Joey has been nominated for the Eyeliner Stakes and the in-form I've Got the Looks appears to be the class galloper of the Gai Waterhouse Classic.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller has nominated two gallopers for this Fillies and Mares Classic in Champagne Cath and Holy Delusions.
Also nominated among this strong field is 2014 winner Jazz Song and 2013 Magic Millions winner Real Surreal.
All eyes will be on the final acceptances tomorrow morning for the completed fields.
Calcutta kicks off fun
AN addition to Cup week is the Swich On Calcutta evening, which will be held at the Ipswich Knights clubhouse at Bundamba on Friday night.
This event was reintroduced last year on the Thursday night and has been moved to a more suitable time.
The winner last year collected almost $10,000 following Brave Ali's victory. To register for the evening, book at Swichon.com.au.
The Calcutta is the start of the non-racing entertainment around the Ipswich Cup.
On Saturday morning the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band performs a traditional welcome prior to the first race, followed by DJs playing on the infield from 12.45-3.15pm.
International act Havana Brown performs on the infield at 3.2pm for an hour and then the After Party with the Electric Eighties band.
This includes a world record sunglass wearing attempt, starting after the races at 5pm.