Calliope Jockey Club president Jim Neill-Ballantine with the famous Gold Cup.
Calliope Jockey Club president Jim Neill-Ballantine with the famous Gold Cup. Judith Hughes

All systems go for Gold Cup Saturday and the weather is fine

HORSE RACING: The resilience and tireless efforts of a small group of Calliope Jockey Club devotees is about to pay dividends when the club's 108th Gold Cup meeting is run at the quaint country track on Saturday.

Dudoomp wins the 2017 Calliope Rural Traders Gold Cup, with jockey Dale Evans in the saddle. Finishing a close second is Go As You Please ridden by Natalea Summers. January 14, 2017.
Dudoomp wins the 2017 Calliope Rural Traders Gold Cup, with jockey Dale Evans in the saddle. Finishing a close second is Go As You Please ridden by Natalea Summers. January 14, 2017.

Beset by weather woes ranging from drought and freakish storm conditions, the annual Boxing Day meeting just two weeks ago was postponed to Saturday.

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The downpour of over 40mm on Christmas night claimed the Boxing Day "annual" but conversely has been a blessing in disguise with the track benefitting in the lead-up to Saturday.

Voluntary club curator Bob Lisle has seen the dirt track blossom with grass shoots and cover which will make it far more suitable than would have been the case on Boxing Day.

"It (track) has come along well and we have been hand watering it from water trucks in sections and it has made a big difference," Lisle said.

Trainers from a wide cross section of Queensland including Roma, Dalby, Nanango; Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Mackay have backed the club by nominating 52 horses.

"The entries have been fantastic and are far more evenly spread in the five races than was the case for the original date," CJC promotions officer Judith Hughes said.

"We just need the support of people in Calliope and the surrounding districts to get to Saturday's races.

"It is not just about horse racing but it is a wonderful social occasion for people, their families and kids to get together and celebrate in a friendly rural atmosphere offering good facilities."

The club has catered for the occasion with Fashions on the Field featuring numerous categories offering valuable prizes as well as entertainment for the kids with a jumping castle bound to be popular.

Camping is available on the racecourse grounds and patrons are invited to stay on after the races for "a great time".

A courtesy bus will be running to and from the Calliope Bowls Club conveying racegoers.

The weather forecast for Saturday is favourable suggesting a mixture of sun and cloud cover with a maximum temperature of 31C predicted.

Race fields for the $50,000 prize money on offer Calliope meeting will be drawn-up on Thursday morning.

A good old-fashioned bookmakers ring will be operating on the metropolitan meetings.

Gates will open at 11am and Hughes said the racecourse was dressed-up for the occasion.