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Sponsors rally behind Moree picnic races despite relentless drought

PUNISHING drought conditions have not deterred a horde of Moree and district businesses from throwing their monetary weight behind the annual Moree picnic races on Saturday, May 25 – round one of bush racing’s Golden Triangle.

Moree Picnic Race Club president Hannah Boland said the support has been nothing short of amazing.

“The Moree and district business community has astounded us with support for our race-day, through sponsorship during this unrelenting drought,” Boland said.

Major sponsors B&W Rural, Kenway and Clark, Graincorp, Chesterfield, North West Events and Marquees and Aircair Aviation headline a long list of local and regional businesses supporting the annual race-day.

The six-race meeting, featuring the time-honoured 1400m Boolooroo Cup – first held in 1924 – and 950m Moree Bracelet, opens bush racing’s Golden Triangle.

Rounds two and three at Mallawa and Talmoi are scheduled for Saturday, June 8 and Saturday, June 22 respectively.

Trophies for all Moree races are currently on display at Stephen Sparke Jewellers on Heber Street.

The Moree meeting, with gates opening at midday, features entertainment by Jac Drenkhahn throughout the day.

Ricky Blewitt brings Track Flash back to scale after winning the 2018 Boolooroo Cup at Moree picnics. Blewitt steadfastly maintains Track Flash is his favourite galloper but sadly the Narromine jockey won’t be on board this year after being sidelined with multiple injuries from a shocking three-horse pile-up at Tomingley last month (Image: Bill Poulos).

Ricky Blewitt brings Track Flash back to scale after winning the 2018 Boolooroo Cup at Moree picnics. Blewitt steadfastly maintains Track Flash is his favourite galloper but sadly the Narromine jockey won’t be on board this year after being sidelined with multiple injuries from a shocking three-horse pile-up at Tomingley last month (Image: Bill Poulos).

The Beauty Matters’ Fashion on the Field competition, to be judged by local fashion experts Sarah Kirkby and Toy Barwick showcases a vast inventory of prizes donated by local businesses.

The important announcement of two life memberships will also be made during the meeting.

“These life memberships will be awarded to outstanding individuals that have made a significant contribution and have had a great influence on the Moree Picnic Race Club,” Boland said.

The race club committee, in conjunction with Joe Hayne from North West Events & Marquees, has also made further changes to the race-day lay-out.

“We hope these changes will enhance the atmosphere for race-goers,” Boland said.

The Triangle, a book on the history of bush racing in the north and north-west, will be available for sale at Moree picnic races on May 25. The publication is a fundraiser for Moree and District Historical Society.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service volunteers will again assist with bar-ticket sales and the traditional calcutta, well-known for pulling a massive final pool, will be held on the Boolooroo Cup.

The evening dinner-dance, catered by Relish, features entertainment by world-renowned musician Rennie Adams.

“We are planning a big day of racing and big night of entertainment and the committee has elected to make donations to charities that service and support our local community,” Boland said.

Cult picnicker Track Flash is on target to join an elite group of gallopers by becoming just the third horse in nearly 100 years to win a hat-trick of Boolooroo Cups after collects in 2017 and 2018.

Champion picnicker Mulgate, trained by Eric Jurd, won four on end in 1959-1960-1961-1962 and Royal Toga, trained by Clive Dixon, put three Boolooroo Cups together in 1966-1967-1968.

Track Flash has already equalled dual winners Thalaba (1934-1935), Sarah Bay (1963-1964), Passing Trade (1970 and 1973), Dandy Secret (1977-1978), Carve Niche (1985-1986), Sahara Bounty (1992 and 1994) and Midas Boy (2000-2001).

Track Flash also aims to give Moree trainer Peter Sinclair an unprecedented 13 Boolooroo Cups since 1995.

Incredibly, Sinclair has won the last seven Boolooroo Cups – Crystal Club (2012), Joppick (2013), Tapakeg (2014), One Double (2015), Dungiven (2016) and Track Flash in 2017 and 2018.

Track Flash goes into the May 25 Boolooroo Cup after two eye-catching runs at Warialda (4th) and Quambone (3rd).

Track Flash’s part-owner, Moree vet Charlie Bunce, said the star picnicker will attempt a hat-trick on May 25.

“Track Flash is getting a bit old so it will more than likely be his last campaign. But he’s won the past two Boolooroo Cups and the idea of winning three in a row is very appealing,” Bunce smiled.

Words and Image: Bill Poulos