Moree owned-and-trained Playa wins inaugural Pacific National Chopper Cup

Words, images Copyright Bill Poulos 2015

THE irony wasn’t lost on Wayne Monckton.

Monckton’s family business, Fred Monckton Bearing Centre, had for the past five years held naming rights to the Moree Cotton Cup, so he bought into a tried horse called Playa to try and win the race his family sponsored.

He even joined the Moree Race Club committee, just to tighten up the odds a bit.

Playa, trained at Moree by Nathan Sinclair, was brought back into work a bit early to include the Cotton Cup on Monckton’s to-do list and the plan appeared faultless – except for one minor glitch.

The Moree Cotton Cup this year morphed into the Pacific National Moree Chopper Cup, a brand-new race at a brand-new meeting designed to raise much-needed funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

“They went and changed the name on me, but I’ll take the money anyway – it’s been a fantastic day,” Monckton chuckled.

“It’s incredibly ironic, but that’s the way things roll I guess – that’s racing.

“Now that I’m on the committee I won’t try and change the name back to the Cotton Cup – while I’m on a good thing, I might stick to it,” he laughed.


Darren Jones returns to scale on Playa after winning the inaugural 1400m Pacific National Chopper Cup at Moree on Saturday.

Playa, owned by Monckton in partnership with NDL racing journo Bill Poulos, cattle baron Sandy Munro, real estate mogul Allan Gobbert, concrete and clay czar Brett Schoupp, earthmover and shaker Simon Smith, Garah grazier Cameron Adams, spraying contractor Gus Shelton, leviathan bookie Terry Picone and art dealer Gig Moses, was given a gun run back in the field by Darren Jones before swooping late to win the inaugural 1400m Pacific National Chopper Cup easily.

The nine-year-old, backed from 5-1 into 13-4, coasted clear to beat Chart (3-1) by one-and-a-half lengths with 9-4 favourite Dungiven two-and-a-half lengths away third.

Jones, who also won the 2175m Chesterfield Australia BM-50 Handicap on Adam Vine’s Yarrowyck Outlaw, said the fast pace set by Sambora and Booked Out suited Playa perfectly.


(From left) Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s Richard Jones with Moree Race Club secretary (and part-owner of Playa) Michelle Gobbert, trainer Nathan Sinclair and part-owner Cindy Poulos.

“There was a lot of speed on early and he got back out of his ground a bit, but that’s where he was comfortable travelling,” Jones said.

“He started to pick up ground at the 900m and we got on to the back of Dungiven as we straightened up, and I thought he might’ve taken a bit of catching.

“I might’ve went a bit soon because we hit the front at the furlong and the old horse wanted to switch off once we got to the front – he stargazed a bit and looked around – but he won nicely, it was a real nice win.

“He did a bit of blowing after the race – and so did I,” he laughed.

“Hopefully there’s a few more wins in him this preparations and the Golden Triangle is looking good for him if he keeps racing like that.”

Jones, riding in career-best form at the moment, also guided Yarrowyck Outlaw (6-1) to a half-length win from Dances on Rainbows (6-1) and Love These Legs (16-1).

“He really kept finding; the second horse pinched a big break and got about three or four lengths in front of us and we had to do all the hard work about 600m from home, but in the last 50m he was just too strong – he won nicely,” Jones said.