Final meet at Gladstone will be one of the biggest in years
THE final meeting for the current racing season at Gladstone draws to a gripping finish on Saturday in what is shaping as one of the biggest meetings in the Harbour City in years.
Gladstone Turf Club (GTC) officials were elated when a huge entry of 80 horses was received for the six race card which is part of the Celebrate Country Series.
David Weinert, the GTC president, went one step further describing the big entry as a record for the club.
"I have been associated with racing in Gladstone for a long time and 80 noms is the best that I can remember," Weinert said.
In all, $45,000 in prizemoney is to be distributed and Weinert said the on-course crowd was shaping as being huge.
"We have already sold out all seating and tables in the betting auditorium which is all undercover. As well we have taken bookings for 15 marquees around the grounds.
"The Fashions on the Field will also be very popular as this meeting allows the women and men to dress up in their winter apparel which is fairly race opportunity for Gladstone's sporting fraternity", Weinert said.
The meeting is being promoted as a charity and support fundraising event for the Brothers Junior Rugby League Club.
Saturday's meeting has special significance as the premiership figures for the leading jockey and trainer as well as the Gladstone Horse of the Year will be finalised.
All three categories with $20,000 in prizes up for grabs could go right down to the wire with results on Saturday determining the final outcome.
Having said that, on current figures jockey Adrian Coome on 35 points with eight to spare over Carly-Mae Pye and a lead of nine points over Luke Dillon, is favoured to win the $5000 cash prize for premier jockey.
Four horses are in contention for their owners to claim the $5000 cash for Gladstone Horse of the Year.
Base Jump with 12 points leads Blaze to Fortune, Rare Find and Liberty Tycoon on 10 points.
"Base Jump, Blaze To Fortune and Rare Find are all nominated on Saturday so any of those three horses can win," Weinert said.
The trainers premiership is a real thriller as Bundaberg's Darryl Gardiner goes racing on Saturday with 32 points leading Gladstone's Lee Kiernan (30) and Dennis Schultz with 26 points.
The prize is a $10,000 voucher to spend at the 2014 Capricorn Yearling Sale in Rockhampton.
"Any of those three trainers can still win as Gardiner and Kiernan each have four horses nominated while Schultz has six," Weinert said.
During Saturday's meeting the lottery yearling, a Wicked Style colt will be paraded.
"Only 200 tickets are being sold at $100 a ticket. The colt will have been fully educated when the draw takes place in just over a month," Weinert said.