With the biggest event on the Mudgee Race Club calendar all but a few hours away from it's first jump for 2019, it comes as no surprise trainers from all over New South Wales have put their best in for a trophy.
While the day will draw in visiting runners, Mudgee and Gulgong's regulars will be out in force with almost all races hosting at least one.
The first race of the day, the Robert Oatley 3YO Maiden Showcase Plate (1100 metres), is vastly dominated by local trainers with half of the runners from the local area.
Former Mudgee trainer, currently of Scone, Cameron Crockett's three-year-old Choose Yourself will jump from barrier four, alongside David J Smith's (Mudgee) Nepenthes who also drew well to be slotted in barrier five.
Gayna Williams' (Mudgee) From The Bush, who last ran third of nine at Scone late November, will also run in race one, as will the Brett Thompson (Gulgong) trained Amy's Shadow, Riders Inthe Sand, with Hawklist an emergency option.
Crockett, Williams and Thompson will all have a contender in race two also, the Whitsundays Maiden Showcase Plate (1500 metres), with Williams' All Too Difficult in barrier two, Crockett's Lady Llewelyn in barrier four, and Thompson gun Marada in barrier 12.
The Williams stable have doubled their chances at a victory with both Iona Nicconi and Western Parade running in race three, the Wild Oats Benchmark 66 Showcase Handicap (1400 metres), alongside fellow Mudgee trainer, Mack Griffith's Vineyard.
The Montrose Mudgee Cup Day Sprint Showcase (1200 metres) with a top prize of $22,000, will see mother and son battle it out, with Crockett putting his faith in Ori On Fire, who has won a total of $146,945 in prizemoney, and his mother, Cheryl Crockett starting six-year-old Bravissimo.
Weather a perfect 31deg for Friday's Robert Oatley Vineyards Mudgee Cup Day with "an excellent cushion on the track. And don't forget we have a $500 voucher from our leading menswear Blowes for the best-presented strapper and horse in the cup" @MudgeeRaceClub 📸Simone Kurtz pic.twitter.com/GRwhTv0Miw— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) December 3, 2019
Race five, the Aurelia Premium Australian Cuvee Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1400 metres), will bare witness to Cameron Crockett's Ausfigther, once a product of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stables, and Rythmo from Smith.
Six of the barriers for the Hamilton Island Country Maiden Showcase Plate (1200 metres) will be filled by Mudgee native runners, including Trojan for Bob Howe, Smouldering from Derek Piper, Hawklist from Thompson, and Fiery Zone from Crockett.
The Robert Oatley Vineyards Mudgee Cup Showcase (1600 metres) will not host any local runners but will feature Rodney Northam's (Scone) Valree who last ran first of a field of ten at Narromine on November 28, Wayne Martyn's (Coonabarabran) Sea Lady and Dar Lunn's (Dubbo) Chilcotin.
The final race of the day, the Craigmoor Country Magic Benchmark 58 Showcase Handicap (1200 metres), will see Williams' Redirect run for the top spot alongside Thompson's Larynx, Howe's Petain and Crockett's Are You Dreaming.
Mudgee Race Club honorary secretary Colleen Walker says the field of runners is rather impressive and ensures the day will be full of competitive racing.
"We couldn't have asked for any better fields, we're just absolutely blessed," she said.
The track is in immaculate order and we wish everyone all the best and to race safely.Mudgee Race Club honorary secretary, Colleen Walker
"It's going to be a hugely competitive day of racing. I can guarantee there will be eight winners on the day."
The Mudgee Cup will be held on December 6 at the Mudgee Racecourse with the first jump at 1.05pm.