Mudgee trainer Mack Griffith is hoping his last-start Highway Handicap winner Schedule can continue his winning form when the six-year-old runs in Friday’s $50,000 Robert Oatley Vineyards Mudgee Cup.
(min cost $8)
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Griffith’s in-form bay gelding is one of a host of impressive nominations for the showcase meeting’s main event, with 22 nominations from across the country and provincial NSW.
A total of 152 nominations have been taken across the meeting’s eight races, with prizemoney jumping to at least $30,000 per race courtesy of the meeting’s showcase standing.
The bumper fields and the club’s ability to draw massive crowds for the Mudgee Cup have led race club secretary Colleen Walker to liken Friday’s action to one of the biggest days of turf racing in the world.
“They come from the Central West, the Hunter, winning the Mudgee Cup ... it’s like winning the Melbourne Cup,” she said.
“We literally have thousands (of people) booked in. It’s our largest day of the year and the highlight of the racing calendar for many trainers.”
Along with Griffith’s charge, Mudgee will have plenty of chances for a home-town winner in 2017 after Warwick Farm-based Bjorn Baker took out last year’s 1600 metre Cup with Burning Energy.
Baker has both Personable and Crosley Hotshot nominated in the field, but isn’t expected to have it all his own way on Friday.
Gayna Williams has two nominations, including last year’s Country Championship contender Galaxy Warrior, while Cameron Crockett’s Mar Nero has failed to place just once in her six starts at Mudgee and Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson’s Ima Baker is proven over the mile distance.
“It’s a wonderful day and the support we’ve had is unprecedented,” Walker said.
“(The weather is) not looking bright but we’ll go with the flow. At this stage it’s full steam ahead.
“The club has done vast improvements. We’re excited about the day.”
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