National Jumps raceday - Sunday 1 November
Featuring the Jolt Coffee House Wanganui Steeplechase & Sportz Bar Duke of Gloucester Cup
Racing from 12.45 pm - 5.25 pm
Free entry & parking
Free bouncy castle for the kids in the main carpark
The races will be open again to patrons and the public on Sunday 1st November for National Jumps raceday.
The club is excited to be scheduled the national jumps raceday for the first time as it is usually held in the northern region. The programme will however host both jumps racing at the beginning of the card and then gallops on the flat. The main feature races will be the Jolt Coffee House Wanganui Steeplechase over 4100m and the Sportz Bar Duke of Gloucester Cup for Amateur riders over 2040m. The Wanganui region is renown for jumps racing with many local horses winning the most prestigious races over the fences both here and in Australia.
Trainer Kevin Myers is indisputably the current guru of jumps racing and has won 10 consecutive National Jumps Trainer’s Premierships which is an outstanding achievement and no mean feat. He is the perennial winner of the local Tom Corrigan Trophy for Leading Jumps Trainer which he has won every season since the inception of the Wanganui Jockey Club Awards in the 1999-2000 season. Other well-known and respected jumps trainers from our region include Raymond Connors, Ken Duncan, Harvey Wilson, Evan & JJ Rayner, Dean Cunningham, and also ex-jumps riders Jo Rathbone & Rochelle Lockett who have all enjoyed success over the fences or in the saddle. Tina Egan is the club’s raceday Clerk of the course and was also a top leading jumps rider with 2 national titles and who still trains out of Stratford.
Also at the recent local 2019/20 Racing awards a special owners award went to Jo Rathbone, David Henry Macnab and Simon Harrison for the exceptional Tallyho Twinkletoe who leapt to the peak of Australasian jumps racing last year when taking out the Grand National Hurdle and Steeplechase double. The New Zealand jumper became the first horse to win the races in the same year since Mosstrooper in 1930. The 10yo gelding is trained by Kevin Myers and is now back home after another recent stint in Australia.
At Ellerslie in early October our locals won both jumping features and smashed the existing track records on their way to convincing victories in their respective events.
The Jo Rathbone trained Magic Wonder won the CLC Pakuranga Hunt Cup over 4900m and the Myers trained Aigne took out the Corzon Maize Pakuranga Hunt Hurdle over 3350m.
Even more recently on the 17th October local trainers dominated in the ARC Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie by taking the trifecta over 6400m.
Wanganui mare Magic Wonder went on to complete the prestigious double of winning both the Pakuranga Hunt and Great Northern Steeplechase, heading off the Myers trained Napolean and Ken Duncan’s Shamal trained out of Hunterville.
Trainer Jo Rathbone created her own piece of history with the win becoming the first female to both train and ride a winner in the great race, having been aboard the Davina Waddell- trained ‘Just the Man’ in 2005.
The Sportz Bar Duke of Gloucester Cup will be an interesting race as this year FLAIR amateur riding series is not being run. The national amateur series has been dominated in the last few years by local Scotty Macnab and has also featured Sarah Macnab who is now an apprentice, as well as Kevin Myers’ children Caley, Jason & Luke.
This year’s running will be unique in two respects:
- It’s the only Amateur race of the season; and
- The amendment of the whip guidelines that came in last October dictate that “In races for Amateur Riders only, the whip may not be used in the drawn position. It may only be used in a slapping motion down the shoulder with the whip hand remaining on the reins.”
It should be an interesting day’s racing especially being the last jumps meeting of the year in the country.
Family Fun Entertainment will also be on-course in the main carpark with a food canteen offering the kids plenty of treats and a free inflatable obstacle course.
The club has also renamed the main public bar on Level 1 from the Island bar to the Buckley Bar after it’s ex-Track manager Mark Buckley who served the club for 41 years. Mark AKA ‘Buckles’ was a much loved and well respected man who worked tirelessly for the club and is certainly missed around the grounds. In the early days Buckles was an amateur rider, he assisted on the raceday starting gates and later became a Life member of the Wanganui Racehorse Owners Association. He passed away on the 30th June and the bar where he had his wedding reception, 70th birthday and retirement function is now dedicated to him. This raceday will now be the official opening of the bar after the Guineas raceday in September was closed to the public due to COVID. So come along and have a drink for Buckles in the Buckley bar!