Three cup meetings left

LOVED HIS RACING: Staunch local racing man and horse owner Charlie Gibbs, who passed away a fortnight ago, was respected in all areas of life. Picture: SUBMITTED

By David Gilbert

TO complete the 2023/24 racing season, there are three cup meetings remaining in this region.

They will all be conducted within the next month and the biggest of the trio (popularity wise) is the Casterton cup fixture in nine days time (May 19).

Just a week later,(Sunday, May 26) racing will return to Glenburnie for the annual meeting for the Millicent Racing Club.

Then it is back over the border for the once-a-year meeting for the Apsley Racing Club to be run at Edenhope on the Sunday of the King’s Birthday weekend (June 9).

Last week saw the two biggest country cup carnivals in Australia conducted.

For some reason, the Warrnambool and Wagga cup carnivals have always clashed during the first week of May and their success shows no signs of diminishing.

With a week spent touring Victoria and southern New South Wales, I attended the first day of both carnivals.

More than 30,000 people attended the three days at Warrnambool, with more than 14,000 on hand for the final day (cup and Grand Annual day).

My intention was to arrive on the first day just prior to the Brierly steeplechase, which I did, but did not allow time to find a car park with car parks filled to capacity.

As a result, I had to bluff my way into the member’s car park, but had to watch the feature race through a gap in the fence before joining the 8,000 people inside.

Two days later in perfect weather at Wagga, over 4,000 people turned up for Wagga Town Plate day and officials were expecting an attendance of 10,000 for the following day (cup day).

Catering at both venues was first class , there was a real buzz in the crowd and it was easy to see why they are rated as the best country carnivals in Australia.


LIMESTONE Coast racing lost a staunch supporter with the passing of Charlie Gibbs a fortnight ago.

Nobody in the racing game would have felt the passing more than veteran Mount Gambier trainer Michael O’Leary, as he and Gibbs grew up together in Naracoorte and remained lifelong friends.

Charlie was a loyal, devout stable client of the O’Leary stable for more than 50 years and success seemed to follow him as an owner.

He was never afraid to have a decent wager on any of his horses, or those of the O’Leary stable, if he thought the stars were aligned.

Charlie always enjoyed attending Oakbank over Easter if he had a runner, as he loved the atmosphere at the Adelaide Hills track.

Especially one year when a jazz band entertained the public between races and the band sounded even better later in the day as he relaxed in good company with a couple of beers.

So much so that Charlie approached the trio and promptly booked them to come and play at his upcoming 70th birthday party at the South Gambier Football Club which made for a memorable night.

His company Holcim sponsored the Summer Cup here at Glenburnie for eight years from 2010 onwards and I suspect that much, if not all, of the sponsorship money came directly out of Charlie’s pocket.

Apart from being a great supporter of the Mount Gambier Racing Club, Charlie only missed a Naracoorte and Coonawarra cup meeting in recent times due to declining health.

A quietly spoken, deep thinking and highly respected man, Charlie died on his 84th birthday and his funeral service was conducted yesterday.

There will be plenty of emotion at Bordertown this afternoon should Falling Leaves, trained by O’Leary and part owned by Gibbs, salute in race three.


ON the subject of emotion, how about the win of Not A Brass Razoo in the 1522-metre BM 56 handicap at Gawler on Wednesday?

The five-year-old mare was having her first start for trainer Peter Hardacre after previously racing in New Zealand, Tasmania and Victoria.

Not A Brass Razoo was recently purchased for $4,000 by local man David Dempsey who is in very poor health and given to Hardacre to try and get a win on the board as soon as possible.

Apprentice Tala Hutchinson played her part by never leaving the fence and Not A Brass Razoo ($11) got the chocolates by a head.


CASTERTON cup day on Sunday week will be a big day for local lass Stacey Edwards, the daughter of trainer Kaye Edwards.

Last month, Stacey celebrated a tremendous feat at Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney on the eve of her 13th birthday when she won the inaugural running of the national pony racing series.

Stacey booked her place in the final after winning the South Australian heat on her pony Napoleon.

In a desperately close final as part of the final day of the Sydney autumn carnival, Stacey and Napoleon got the judge’s nod in a photo finish which led to an emotional time for all concerned.

“Casterton is only a small town of 1,500 people and I’m just so happy to be here,” Stacey said after regaining her composure, adding that her aim now is to become a jockey.

The Casterton Racing Club has decided to honour Stacey’s achievement by letting her lead the cup field out on Napoleon for the 2024 Casterton Cup and then gallop Napoleon up the straight in front of her home crowd.

Once again, the Casterton Racing Club is offering a free bus service to Casterton from Mount Gambier and return for the Casterton Cup meeting on Sunday week.

The bus will leave the Park Hotel at 10am and return shortly after the final race, and any enquiries and bookings can be made with CRC general manager John Donnelly (0419 224 402).


THE track at Bordertown has received rave reviews from trainers this season and the club was rewarded with record nominations for today’s meeting.

There were 180 entries received for the seven-race card, something unheard of for the Bordertown club and although that number was reduced to 120 at acceptance time, it still meant the meeting being extended to nine races.

Meanwhile, local jockey Kate Walters was the only ray of sunshine for the Limestone Coast at Horsham last Saturday.

Walters won aboard the Charlotte Parker (Hamilton) trained Final Atom ($3.40) in the 1200-metre BM 58 handicap.


HARNESS racing here last week saw trainer Rebecca East along with drivers Jackie Barker and Jayson Finnis walk away with doubles for the evening.

Barker is on target to win successive driver’s titles at the Greenwald Paceway and has opened up a gap over Lochie Cook and Mark Phillips.

East produced two first starters in the final event and the result did not go the way punters wanted.

Harvard ($1.75-$1.45 fav.) was retired from the race within 300 metres of the start, while stablemate The Frankstar ($2.70-$4.80) won easily after coming from back in the field.

Members of the 200 club are reminded the wind up will be held in the club bar at the Greenwald Paceway on Sunday week (May 19) from 1pm when the three major draws will be conducted.