While preparing for its "Seafood Race Day" on January 14, connections of the Tuncurry-Forster Jockey Club (TFJC) are excited to play host to the first of the series of the 2023 Country Championship Qualifiers on February 12.
The $150,000 event for country-trained gallopers only, is one of nine qualifying races which lead to the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championship Final at Randwick on April 1.
"I have put in a bid every year (to Racing NSW) since 2017, and finally, we had news that we got it," TFJC president Garry Quinlan said.
"We are all so pleased; we have come such a long way over the last 17 years since the club's inception - and it's all due to the hard-working committee and volunteers.
"My ultimate aim is the make the TFJC the best in NSW."
Labelling itself as "coastal country racing at its best", secretary Julie Manning said the TFJC races is a festive activity for the whole family.
"A lot of people come here for holidays and end up coming to enjoy the races, which makes for a great atmosphere," Ms Manning said.
While jockeys Mikayla Weir and Aaron Bullock rode winning doubles at the TFJC December meet, Gosford conditioner Kylie Gavenlock scored with Rend.
The Northern Rivers Country Championship Qualifier follows at Coffs Harbour on February 18, then Moruya (for South-East Racing Association) the following day, followed by Albury (Southern Districts) on February 25, then Mudgee (Central Districts) on February 26. The March qualifying races begin at Tamworth (Hunter and North West region) on March 4, then Coonamble (Western Districts) March 12.
This year sees two wild card races conducted - a Southern Wild Card at Goulburn on March 17, followed by a Northern Wild Card at Scone two days later.
Breeders of youngsters by Written By bound for the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale next week would be pleased to learn of a pre-Christmas win of The Novelist, a first crop two-year-old colt which showed a clean pair of heels when winning easily at its first start at Kembla Grange.
There are 19 horses listed at the live auction by Written By, a Widden Stud-based group one winning stallion by Written Tycoon.
Costing $110,000 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale from the Glenlogan Park draft last year, The Novelist is next up in the $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Gold Coast Classic at its mammoth race day on January 14.
Another chestnut colt to make the trip north is Sovereign Fund, which convincingly won the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic on debut at the Central Coast track last month.
Raced by a high-profile syndicate of Newgate Farm and China Horse Club, Sovereign Fund (by the Newgate Farm-based Capitalist) was a $550,000 purchase from the Newgate Farm draft.
Runner-up to Sovereign Fund was the fast-finishing Quasimoto who is trained at Dubbo by Clint Lundholm. By Victorian-based, Not A Single Doubt stallion Squamosa, Quasimoto - which cost his trainer $46,000 in Book 2 of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, may have earnt a Gold Coast trip for the celebrated juvenile event.
Oscar Zulu became the first qualifier for the $2 million The Big Dance on Melbourne Cup day later this year when winning the Goulburn Cup (late November) - the first of 28 country cup qualifying events - as well as a wild card in Sydney about three weeks prior.
Run over 1600 metres, The Big Dance is the Sydney highlight of the Randwick program on November 7, 2023.
Irish-bred Military Mission is another qualified galloper (Taree Cup winner), while the Joseph Racing (Canberra) candidate Super Helpful won Gundagai's huge feature Snake Gully Cup are others in the Big Dance mix. Among December's Big Dance qualifiers include Camaguey (Mudgee Cup), French Bonnet (Nowra Cup) and Pepper's Ghost - trained at Scone by Brett Cavanough, winner of the Armidale Cup.
January continues with a treble of cup qualifying races around the state.
While the Moruya Cup was conducted on Monday, it preceded the Ballina Cup (January 13), and then the Bega Cup at the Sapphire Coast (January 29).
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