Country champs roll on

Torrential rain hits Mudgee - but there is a winner


Life & Style
Bathurst trainer Dean Mirfin, with hoop Eleanor Webster-Hawes unsaddling Cosmologist after the “water-logged” win in the CDRA Country Championship Qualifier at Mudgee last Sunday. Photos by Virginia Harvey.

Bathurst trainer Dean Mirfin, with hoop Eleanor Webster-Hawes unsaddling Cosmologist after the “water-logged” win in the CDRA Country Championship Qualifier at Mudgee last Sunday. Photos by Virginia Harvey.

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Atrocious weather conditions did not stop the good trackside crowd, but it did provide a “bolter” to take the third qualifying race of the Country Championships Series.

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ATROCIOUS weather conditions did not stop the good trackside crowd, but it did provide a “bolter” to take the third qualifying race of the Country Championships Series, which saw $51 chance Cosmologist win the 1400 metres event at Mudgee for the Central Racing Districts region last Sunday. 

Run in torrential rain, Cosmologist defeated another long priced starter Noel’s Gift (by Zariz and locally trained by Gayna Williams) to both qualify for the $500,000 Country Championships Final at Randwick on  April 7. 

By former Coolmore Stud shuttler Uncle Mo, Cosmologist provided the biggest win for Bathurst trainer Dean Mirfin and Cowra based hoop Eleanor Webster-Hawes. The four-year-old gelding only gained a start (being a third emergency of the field) in the $150,000 event after Gulgong conditioner Brett Thompson scratched three of his horses on race morning. 

The historic breeding property Newhaven Park formed a successful partnership with the Australian Turf Club as the previous Country Championship Final sponsor, and now news has filtered that the Boorowa located property will remain the named sponsor of the Country Championships Final for the next three years. 

“It is just awesome, the country championships fairy-tale captures the hearts and minds of all racing people,” said Newhaven Park principal John Kelly. 

“It gives grass roots racing folk a chance to compete on the biggest stage, and we just wanted to be a part of it.”

The country championships fairy-tale captures the hearts and minds of all racing people. - John Kelly

Operated by a fourth generation of the Kelly family, Newhaven Park has been among the leading Australian nurseries for over 60 years.  

The Country Championship Qualifying races roll on with Sunday meets at Wagga Wagga March 4, Grafton, 11; Scone, 18; Dubbo, 25; with the “Wild Card” for all regions held at Muswellbrook on April 1. 

Condobolin winners 

WHILE it may be a long way from any Country Championships Qualifying race hysteria, the state’s town centre of Condobolin hosted its own picnic championships when local hope Spinning Dawn won the $8000 Royal Hotel Condobolin Picnic Race Club Cup last Saturday. 

For trainer Steve Beattie it was his fourth local Cup win since 2001, however, for one of the gelding’s part-owners David Simmons of “Old Byong” Trundle, it was his first Cup win as an owner. 

He along with other local owners Simone Beattie, Gai Berry, and friends Anthony Simmons and Danni Ward, were all seen drinking champagne from the Condobolin Cup trophy long after the last race on the six-race program. 

Ridden by regular hoop Ricky Blewitt, Spinning Dawn was privately purchased just prior to Christmas for the picnic racing circuit and has since won a Trophy race at Orange then finished with seconds this month at the Geurie Picnics then second in the Bedgerebong Picnic Cup at his previous start. A six-year-old by Spinning World, Spinning Dawn is likely to tackle another picnic cup in the coming weeks.  

Congratulations must also go to new Dubbo trainer Karen Lunn (wife of former amateur jockey now trainer Michael Lunn), who prepared her first winner when Olive Beauty won the Grain Corp Class 2 Trophy Handicap.   

The successful combination of Nyngan trainer Rodney Robb and apprentice hoop Maddison Wright scored a winning double with Shellscrape gelding Mango Liston and Northern Myth.  

By Northern Meteor, Northern Myth is raced by a group also including David Simmons, which gave the happy Trundle owner two wins for the day. 

On a points score system, trainers, owners and jockeys competing on the NSW picnic circuit have a chance to gain a spot in the $50,000 NSW Picnic Champion Series Final, which will be staged again at Dubbo this September. 

Sprezzatura (part-owned by David Ringland), with strapper Amelia Lundholm and jockey Greg Ryan, who won the Showcase Maiden at Mudgee.

Sprezzatura (part-owned by David Ringland), with strapper Amelia Lundholm and jockey Greg Ryan, who won the Showcase Maiden at Mudgee.

Jockey Ricky Blewitt, Cameron Beattie with Dad and trainer Steve Beattie, part-owners David Simmons, and Gai Berry, and Simone Beattie.

Jockey Ricky Blewitt, Cameron Beattie with Dad and trainer Steve Beattie, part-owners David Simmons, and Gai Berry, and Simone Beattie.

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