Jockey Michael McNab aboard winner Cedarwood on a historic day at Ipswich racetrack.
Jockey Michael McNab aboard winner Cedarwood on a historic day at Ipswich racetrack. Rob Williams

Waller horse shares in prizemoney boost


THE Chris Waller trained Cedarwood was the first galloper to earn higher prizemoney for connections following its win at Ipswich on Friday.

Michael McNab saluted in the saddle with Cedarwood for the champion trainer as the higher prizemoney regime began.

In all, there was in excess of $250,000 prizemoney for the meeting which carried metropolitan status after the programmed midweek meeting at Doomben was cancelled to give that track a pre-summer break from racing.

The increase to prizemoney followed the agreement on the previous Friday between the State Government and the Racing Alliance for the Government to find additional funding out of general revenue.

The increase was significant for racing in Queensland and the higher level commenced from November 1.

This move was made in an attempt to keep pace with southern states prizemoney increases for the economically important sporting industry of thoroughbred horse racing.

Melbourne fever

THE atmosphere of Melbourne in Cup week is a magnet for any admirer of thoroughbred horse racing.

The best of Australasia, along with top class northern hemisphere gallopers, helps to create a magical time for those interested in the turf.

The quality racing in front of several hundred thousand across the week combines with festive moods around the city in retail, bars, clubs, and the casino to create an irresistible lure to thousands of visitors.

For some, including myself, there is nothing better in racing than the full cup week festivities which included the Melbourne Cup parade through the city streets.

Carnival excitement

SATURDAY was an exciting Derby Day to kick off the Flemington week-long carnival.

Derby Day featured four Group 1 races with Extra Brut taking the derby on what is always a spectacular day of racing in front of a huge crowd.

From an Ipswich point of view, there was a runner in the Wakeful owned in part by Don Moore and the North brothers Brian and Grahame.

Tysonic finished off well promising future success in suitable races.

With the Derby run and won, all attention turns to the race that stops a nation - the Melbourne Cup to be contested this afternoon at 2pm.

The drawing of starting positions on Saturday night didn't favour the top few favourites. This included favourite Yucatan, from barrier 23, and Cross Counter in 19.

Northern hemisphere three-year-old Cross Counter has similar form, weight, and credentials to last year's winner Rekindling - only the second galloper ever to win the Melbourne Cup at the first run in Australia. However Rekindling drew an inside barrier.

Marmelo was favourite for the Cup last year after a slashing run first up in Australia in the Caulfield Cup. However, the trainer suggested that earlier run had taken the gloss of the horse before his finish in ninth position. Accordingly, this galloper is going straight into the Melbourne Cup in 2018 and has been in good form in Europe this year.

Best Solution, The CliffsofMoher and Youngstar come off strong runs in the Caulfield Cup, and Avilius won his first four straight in Australia prior to a strong Cox Plate effort.

In an open race, I am prepared to give last year's favourite Marmelo another chance with a better draw and a more measured lead-up.

Youngstar has also drawn well and will have the Chris Waller polish and light weight on her side.

Avilius, for James Cummings to be the third of his family to train a Melbourne Cup winner, has to be thrown into the mix as well.

Next meetings

Ipswich races on Thursday, corresponding with the Group 1 Oaks Day at Flemington. Other November meetings are Wednesdays 14th and 21st, then Friday 30th.

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