Racing season draws to a close with good numbers expected for Geraldton’s Gold Cup

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Past Geraldton Cup winner Sugar Cain.
Camera IconPast Geraldton Cup winner Sugar Cain. Credit: Jessica Moroney/RegionalHUB

It’s another big weekend in racing as the Geraldton Gold Cup runs out this Sunday in what will be the final marquee event for the Geraldton Turf Club season.

While there is still one more mid-week race meet, the Gold Cup marks the culmination of the country racing season and is the last major event before the season break.

This has been the first season post-COVID and Geraldton Turf Club president David Wrenstead said it had been a good return to racing.

“It’s been a pretty good season; we are pleased with the horse numbers, which have been really good, and the attendance has been building back up,” he said.

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“It is probably taking a little bit longer than we thought to get back to normal levels but everything considered, it has been a successful season.”

Despite the return post-COVID being a bit of a slow burn, Wrenstead is expecting good numbers on Sunday.

“We’re expecting a really good crowd. We’ve made an effort to make it more inclusive for kids and families, something we’ve really focused on throughout the season,” he said.

“It looks like the weather is going to be really good and hopefully people take notice of the improvements we’ve made around the track.”

Raiders have been enjoying local meets as of late, with Tiarnna Robertson’s Shabalala claiming the Dongara Cup last weekend while Aaron Pateman took home the Mingenew Cup with Miette Star.

Mundaring-based Felicity Forbes-Ives’ False Statement took home the Batavia Sprint and Carnarvon’s Peter Daly took home the Walkaway Cup.

Gordon Spowart’s Chix Chatter is the only local winner of a major meet, claiming the Ladies Day Sprint back in October.

“You always want to support the locals but racing is now universal and we’ll be happy no matter who wins,” Wrenstead said.

“We’re the last event on the calendar, with Albany, Bunbury and Narrogin already holding their meets, and it’s terrific to see horse numbers have held up until the end of the season.”

A 16-strong field has been named for the cup, all of them multiple race winners.

Tony Scally’s Vanman has not placed outside of the top three in his past eight starts, including finishing second at the Dongara Cup, though the 2100m is a step up from his recent races.

Greg Delane’s Minus Looks is also in good form but has not run a race over 2000m since 2021. Adam Durrant’s Come Right Back is one of the few horses to run consistent races over 2000m recently but results have been uninspiring.

Greg Spowart’s Edmond looks the best chance at breaking raider dominance after finishing runner-up at the 2125m Northampton Cup and has only two finishes outside the top three in his 12 starts in Geraldton.

Gates for the turf club open from 11.30am, with adult tickets $20. Racing starts from 1.30pm and the Geraldton Gold Cup is scheduled for a 4.50pm start.

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