Byers earns a holiday

Byers earns a holiday


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A cup race that eluded him in the past was sweet victory for Taree conditioner, Mike Byers, following the win of Who Is Game who took the $30,000 A J Wilson Wholesale Food Distributers Tuncurry-Forster XXXX Gold Cup at Tuncurry last Friday.

According to Mike he has had “a couple of seconds (in the Tuncurry-Forster Cup), but never won”.

The Jockey Club Tuncurry/Forster president, Garry McQuillan, part-owner Vince Cassar, Hawkesbury hoop Grant Buckley, Taree trainer Mike Byers, Tuncurry Cup winner, Who Is Game, sponsors Scott Bradbook and Belinda Wilson.

The Jockey Club Tuncurry/Forster president, Garry McQuillan, part-owner Vince Cassar, Hawkesbury hoop Grant Buckley, Taree trainer Mike Byers, Tuncurry Cup winner, Who Is Game, sponsors Scott Bradbook and Belinda Wilson.

“I’ve won just about every cup (race) in our area, so this tops it off,” said a happy Mike Byers after the races.

“And that has been from only about four starters (in the Tuncurry-Forster Cup).

Antony and Katie Thompson (centre) with their son, Sam, 12, and daughter Amy, 14, with the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Widden Stud, Widden Valley.

Antony and Katie Thompson (centre) with their son, Sam, 12, and daughter Amy, 14, with the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Widden Stud, Widden Valley.

“Now I am going to have one month off.”

Partnered by Hawkesbury based hoop, Grant Buckley, Who Is Game belongs to the fourth last crop of foals by retired prolific winner-getting US-bred import, Youthful Legs. 

Jockey, Grant Buckley, aboard Who Is Game, defeats Douro (and Adrian Layt) in the A J Wilson Wholesale Food Distributors Tuncurry-Forster XXXX Gold Cup.

Jockey, Grant Buckley, aboard Who Is Game, defeats Douro (and Adrian Layt) in the A J Wilson Wholesale Food Distributors Tuncurry-Forster XXXX Gold Cup.

Who Is Game defeated Flying Spur gelding Douro, with the Kris Lees trained Magic Albert gelding, Olympic Academy, third.

Douro’s local conditioner, Terry Evans, had to settle for another second place earlier on the program with his tough nine-year-old galloper, Not Doubtful (by Lonhro’s triple Group 1 winning brother Neillo), in the Hawkesbury Race Club and Motel Benchmark 53 Handicap. 

That race winner was won by the Damien Lane, Wyong-trained He’sprettycool, and raced in partnership, including his breeders, Louise and Mark Ellis.

A six-year-old gelding, He’sprettycool, is by Group 1 producing sire – the US-bred Storm Cat horse, Mosayter, who stands at the Ellis family’s Argyle Thoroughbreds, Panuara, near Orange.

Interestingly, Not Doubtful was having his 106th start for earnings of $176,665, and I found a few other gallopers at the meeting that had past the century mark for appearances.

Another of these Tuncurry centurion runners included the Dianne Lumsden, Newcastle-trained Rembetica, who finished 10th in the cup. 

He is a 12-year-old chestnut gelding by deceased, but wonderful US-imported sire, Beautiful Crown, and has now raced 124 times for $135,000 in stakes.

He is the second successive “Rembetica” as 15 years earlier there was another Rembetica (born 1990) who is also a chestnut gelding, but by successful French import, Noalcoholic, and who had 114 starts for $444,866 earnings.

In the last race – the Les Dunk Memorial/Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club Benchmark 55 Handicap which was won by the Kris Lees trained Face Like Thunder (by former Irish-bred shuttler, Zoffany), I found the fifth placed galloper Loading (by deceased US-bred Bite The Bullet) who was having his 124th start. 

Second in this 1400 metres event was Color Purple, an 11-year-old Fantastic Light gelding, and veteran of 83 starts for $196,000.

President of the The Jockey Club – Tuncurry-Forster, Garry McQuillan, was a happy man after their big day, and is angling for a future upgrade for this major Mid North Coast feature meeting.

“I am hoping that this meet could become a Showcase Meeting (which would be a TAB meeting on a Sunday) next year,” Mr McQuillan said.

The club was recently named a finalist for the Outstanding Achievement category in the 2017 NSW Provincial and Country Racing Awards to be held in Sydney on September 29.

Widden’s Melbourne Cup

IT was just over 12 months ago that Margaret and Garry McQuillan and their team at The Jockey Club Tuncurry-Forster were honoured of having the Melbourne Cup trophy land at their race meeting, which proved a major drawcard to their races.

Founded in the same decade as the Melbourne Cup, Widden stud is currently celebrating 150 years of operation, and was another to have the cup “visit” during this tour.

Having three handles makes the cup unique, being one for the trainer, the jockey and owner, to hold high in celebration of victory.

The popular Melbourne Cup trophy tour has been conducted during the past 15 years.

According to Jo O’Shaughnessy from the Victoria Race Club, the cup weighs about three and a half kilograms and is worth about $200,000.

“It has done over 500,000 miles, or about 10 and a half times around the world,” said Jo, who was travelling with the Cup on the recent Upper Hunter Valley tour leg.

Made of 18 carat gold, it is the second successive year that the gold had been mined at West Wyalong.

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