It may have been a huge party hosted by Newhaven Park at their Kelly family owned Doncaster Hotel for the visiting multitude of country folk at Kensington last Friday night, however it was all business the following day on Day 1 of The Championships at Royal Randwick racecourse, the Newhaven Park Country Championships Final a highlight.
Bolstered by the State-wide country participation and with the addition of Winx on-track for an exhibition gallop prior to race 1, saw a massive surge with the early in-coming crowd to get the best vantage points.
Best known for partnering "our" wonder mare Winx (who is preparing for her final start at Randwick next Saturday), Hugh Bowman also rode favourite Noble Boy who showed a clean pair of heels to convincingly win the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final.
While having the on-course farrier re-plate a hoof behind the barriers before the start may have had connections concerned, it made no difference to Noble Boy who showed his class when threading his way through the 16-race field to convincingly defeat his opposition from around the State.
The Southern Districts took centre stage with two placings - the winner and favourite Noble Boy being trained at Queanbeyan by Todd Blowes, while the third placed Bennelong Dancer is prepared at Albury by Donna Scott.
The Mid North Coast took second spot with game mare Lucciola Belle who is trained at Taree by Wayne Wilkes.
"It's the Grand Final for country horses, and it holds a special place in my heart being from country NSW," said an elated trainer after his win.
Noble Boy's win was not only another victory for the Southern Districts based prolific sire Bon Hoffa,who stands at John and Helen's North's Bowness Stud, Young, but also with the gelding being bred in the region by part-owner Donna Smart at "Donoxley" at Koorawatha.