Blaze to Fortune heads big Gladstone Cup field
WIDELY-travelled Roma trainer Craig Smith is likely to make a rare appearance at Gladstone races on Saturday after entering horses for the club's feature races of the year.
Smith has Satch engaged in the $15,000 Gladstone Cup (1608m) while he has plans to start Voluntary in the Gladstone Turf Club's $12,000 Newmarket Handicap (1194m).
The Gladstone Cup, which will be headed in the weights by top galloper Blaze To Fortune, has attracted 10 entries.
Trained at Gladstone's Ferguson Park racecourse by Dennis Schultz, Blaze to Fortune is the current Gladstone Turf Club Horse of the Year.
Some 11 sprinters have entered for the Newmarket, in which the Mark Lehmann-trained Moicheia, off a rating of 79, will head the weights.
Rockhampton trainer Jared Wehlow is likely to have two starters in the Cup.
As well as his earlier Gladstone Cup winner the veteran Teddy Bare (NZ), the young trainer will also start new stable acquisition Denwood.
Previously, Denwood had been trained by Darryl Hansen at Caloundra who campaigned the horse at the recent Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville Cup carnivals.
Denwood is raced by local interests including Ian and Kathy Randle of Rockhampton.
GTC president David Weinert said a crowd of several thousand was expected trackside on Saturday.
"On-course marquees sold out three weeks ago and most of the under-covered seating in the betting auditorium is gone as well. The weather forecast is sensational so a great day out is assured," Weinert said.
He urged racegoers to come early to Ferguson Park on Saturday with gates opening at 11am.
The Cup meeting will be preceded on Friday night with the Cup Ball, which will also incorporate the presentation of premiership awards from last season.
Darryl Gardiner from Bundaberg was named Gladstone's premier trainer for the 2012-13 season.
Adrian Coome won the jockey's premiership by a decisive 13-point margin over Luke Dillon.
CQ-owned gallopers Divine City and Avaladyluck are likely starters at Eagle Farm in Brisbane.