IF there was any doubt the 2012 Orange Gold Cup was going to be the biggest race in the Central West this year, yesterday’s nominations for the jewel event in the Racing Orange crown put the doubters to bed.
A massive 182 horses have nominated across the eight-race program for this Friday’s Racing Orange meeting.
It’s the largest number of nominations the club has received since taking over the running of thoroughbred racing in Orange, with 21 horses nominating for Friday’s main race, the $50,000 John Davis Motors Orange Gold Cup (1600m).
“We’re delighted with both the number and quality of entries,” Racing Orange chairperson Ellie Brown said.
“We’re also delighted that Orange is drawing interest from far afield and indicates we are taking steps in re-establishing Orange as an important racing centre.”
Among the leading trainers heading to Towac Park on Friday, Randwick’s Graeme Rogerson has nominated impressive eight-year-old Barlagarney as well as Rockin Rocket which has a handy five wins from 26 starts record for $184,150 prize money.
The metropolitan performed Slick Sniper (Tracey Bartley), A Real Prince (Bjorn Baker), Delago Star (Kim Waugh) as well as Nothin’ Like Luca (Con Karakatsanis) are among the other strong chances entered.
Mudgee-based trainer Brett Thompson has top country miler Hewentwhoosh nominated for the Gold Cup following successive wins in Mudgee and Bathurst.
Bathurst trainer Sarah Murray-Leslie has Moment Of Clarity nominated, with the lively eight-year-old gelding a last-start winner at Towac Park over the 1600 metre distance in early February.
Among the other featured races, the $20,000 Coates Hire The Pinnacle (1000m) has attracted 21 entries and is headed by the Peter Nestor-trained Lockers, while the $15,000 Sky Racing Gold Banjo Patterson (1300m) has drawn 28 nominations headed by recent Orange winner, the Brett Thompson-trained Chatterchic.
Orange has received a touch over 81 millimetres of rain since the start of the month.
Brown said despite cool temperatures predicted over the next three days as well as a chance of a shower in the lead up to Friday’s meeting, the track at Towac Park would be in pristine condition come race one.
Gates open at 11.45am with the first race to be run at 1.10pm. The Orange Gold Cup is scheduled for race seven on the eight race program.
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