THIS year's Bathurst RSL Club Soldier's Saddle will carry a full field of competitors after trainers answered the call for this Monday's $34,000 feature event at Tyers Park.
A total of 18 nominations were received for the 1,400 metre class four race, with the final field of 14 to be decided on Thursday morning.
Three Bathurst-trained runners are among the group: Wanda Ings' Pop Power, Paul Thoebald's Tiger King and Dean Mirfin's Whatsin.
Nominations were extended for the top supporting race on the card, the Bill Aspros Cup (1,100m), which had 13 entrants.
In total, 118 nominations were received across all races.
Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing manager Michelle Tarpenning said it was great to see the club's biggest day of the year well supported by trainers.
"There's really solid noms and the track is in immaculate conditions," she said.
"We had a little bit of rain last night which will freshen things up. There's no rain predicted, though you never know with this time of year, but the day's looking great in terms of weather."
Following several years of significant challenges posed by COVID-19 this Monday's meeting is expected to be the biggest in some time.
"We're expecting a bumper crowd with the way things have turned out with COVID," Tarpenning said.
"There's no restrictions on the gate this year and we're all staffed up and ready to go. We've made a big push on staffing this year to make sure we've got more than enough to cater for such a big crowd."
Tuesday also saw the Bathurst Cup named as one of 25 country cup races across NSW that will serve as a qualifying event for the new $2 million Big Dance race to be held at Royal Randwick on November 1.
The field for The Big Dance will be drawn from the winners and second placed horses from those races.
Tarpenning said the Bathurst Cup's elevation to a Big Dance qualifier adds to what is already a big day for the club.
"We're very excited about that. It adds another element to an exciting race day," she said.
"Our Bathurst Cup has already had an increase in prize money so this adds a string to the bow of what's already a great day of racing.
"It's a great move to bring that into the spring racing calendar."
The Bathurst Cup is expected to be a high quality qualifier for the event, given that its date of September 25 will make it one of the last opportunities for horses to get through to the decider.
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