The race day that stops the town is here – the 2016 Mudgee Cup showcase meeting will be run and won today at the Mudgee Race Club.
Gates open at 11am with the eight-race Mudgee Cup program getting underway at 1.20pm with the Whitsundays Showcase Maiden Plate (1500m).
The day’s main event will be the $50,000 Robert Oatley Vineyards Mudgee Cup (1600m), Race 7 at 5.05pm.
Local trainers Cameron Crockett and Gayna Williams will have runners Are You Sure and Strong Boy, respectively, competing for the big prize.
There will also be plenty of cheering for Something Borrowed, who is trained at Dubbo by former jockey Justin Stanley but his group of 10 owners are all from Mudgee.
Among those they’ll have to overcome will be 2015 Mudgee Cup winner Fox Solid, trained by Wellington’s Garry McCarney, back for another tilt.
The meeting will also see the $35,000 Montrose Mudgee Cup Day Sprint (1200m), featuring local trainers Brett Thompson (Iwilldoit), Mack Griffith (Pera Pera), and Max Crockett (Lancelot).
Cameron Crockett said, “It’s the best country cup on the calendar”.
“If you exclude places like Wagga and Scone, which I don’t really call country cups because they’re more like city meetings, for a true-blue country cup this is hands down the best meeting around.
“I’ve been to every cup around here and you can’t compare them to Mudgee.”
He said another highlight will be Race 4, the Country Showcase Maiden Handicap (1200m), which he believes is a great concept for regional trainers.
“The beauty of the showcase days is they have a country maiden on every program, which is great because they’re worth about $23,000 to the winner and they have to be won by a country horse,” he said.
“Outside of the cup they’re generally the highest prize money of the day. It’s a great incentive.”