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  • Provincial Racing NSW


WYONG Race Club is on the verge of its biggest year yet.

Not only will the new season unveil the 150th anniversary of racing at Wyong, but the club will conduct a revamped three-day Cup carnival in August and September ahead of its first Saturday stand-alone metropolitan meeting in January.

Racing was first conducted by the go-ahead Central Coast club in 1875, and it has been held on the present site close to the railway station and business precinct since 1912.

In the club’s 150th year, chief executive Greg Purcell has announced an extension of the annual Cup carnival from two to three days, which includes two Sunday fixtures.

Wyong will race on Sunday, August 18 and September 1 and the carnival will climax with the Listed Wyong Leagues Group Wyong Gold Cup on Friday, September 6; the first of a new three-year sponsorship agreement.

“We’re approaching an exciting time, and three-day Cup carnival enables us to stage Preludes for both the Gold Cup and our feature fillies and mares’ race, the Listed Domeland Mona Lisa Stakes, as we welcome another new major sponsor,” Purcell said on Sunday.

“Our opening day on August 18 will feature the Cup Prelude over 2000m and Mona Lisa Prelude over 1200m.

“Each race will be worth well above normal provincial prizemoney at $60,000, and conducted as Class 6’s at set weights, as with the Provincial-Midway Qualifiers.

“The respective winners automatically will gain exemption from ballot for the Cup and Mona Lisa.

“The second Sunday meeting on September 1 coincides with Fathers’ Day and will be known as Super Heroes Day.

“The $200,000 Domeland Mona Lisa (1350m), previously run on Cup day, will now be run at this meeting.

“By staging the Mona Lisa a bit earlier, trainers will now have 19 days to Newcastle’s Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) at their Cup meeting,” Purcell explained.

“The first four placegetters in last year’s Mona Lisa filled four of the first five placings in the Tibbie.”

Peter and Paul Snowden’s Mirra View (Chad Schofield) defeated Sanstoc, Wollombi and Banana Queen in the 2023 Mona Lisa, whilst Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou’s Banana Queen (Kerrin McEvoy) turned the tables at Newcastle, defeating Sanstoc and Mirra View, and Wollombi ran fifth.

The Wyong Leagues Group Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) has had a slight prizemoney boost, going from $240,000 to $250,000.

Royal Randwick trainer John O’Shea’s Benaud, ridden by then apprentice Dylan Gibbons, won last year’s Gold Cup from Annabel Neasham’s pair, subsequent Group 1 Doomben Cup winner Bois D’Argent and Spirit Ridge.

Spirit Ridge then ran second a fortnight later in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup to Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Military Mission, who subsequently won two Group 2 features in Melbourne.

Wyong is awaiting official confirmation of the breakdown of its first ever Saturday stand-alone metropolitan meeting, which has been scheduled for January 11 next year in RacingNSW’s 2024-25 dates.

“We are expecting an announcement shortly by RacingNSW in regard to an important new race which will highlight what promises to be a big day at Wyong,” Purcell said.

“The Central Coast is always very popular with holiday makers over the Christmas-New Year period, so the opportunity to hold a metropolitan meeting on a Saturday in January will ensure we take every advantage to make it a huge success.”

Story John Curtis, July 7, 2024 - Pics supplied

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