HorseBetting asks: Should racing spend more time in the country?

Hawkesbury
THERE is no doubt that punters love betting the big carnivals like The Championships and the Melbourne spring carnival, but where would we be without the stand alone meetings which fill out the rest of the year?

The standalone Hawkesbury meeting this Saturday is the perfect example of what makes this industry tick.

The Hawkesbury Racing Club has put up $1.5 million in stake money for a nine-race card which includes the Hawkesbury Guineas and Hawkesbury Gold Cup. This is the only metropolitan meeting in New South Wales this Saturday – an event an idea that should be continued many times throughout the year.

Last week we were forced to bet on very average races at Rosehill, where the biggest race was a Rating 85 Handicap worth $91,400. This would have been the opportune time for one of the smaller clubs to feature its top races on a standalone meeting. Clubs such as Hawkesbury and Scone get this privilege and punters will happily climb into the markets.

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We’ll take this Saturday’s Hawkesbury meeting as an example. The Group 3 $200,000 Hawkesbury Guineas features a field of 14 runners, which could pass for a group 1 at Randwick. With horses such as Spill The Beans, Handfast, Suspense and Red Extension, the Guineas will be a heavily-punted race with Crownbet.com.au.

The Group 3 $200,000 Hawkesbury Cup features a classy field of potential Melbourne Cup entrants. Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller has seven nominations which includes Junoob, Opinion, Beaten Up and Tales Of Grimm which is always well-supported with punters.

The rest of the nine-race card is packed with classy thoroughbreds and although many of them are looking for an easier race after running during The Championships, they have underestimated the strength of the Hawkesbury carnival. It has now become a major meeting where getting black type is achievable and that continues through to the Scone two-day carnival on May 13-14.

The $400,000 Scone Guineas is another high-class race that could be mistaken for a group race during a major carnival. Sportsbet.com.au already have a market framed for the three-year-old classic and the quality of animal is evident.

Scone Guineas market:

Pearls – $3.50
Takedown – $5.00
Kimberley Star – $6.00
Serene Majesty – $7.00
Look To The Stars – $10
Dark Steel – $15
Yattarna – $15
Brigadoon Rise – $15
Sonic Swish – $15
Challenge Accepted – $26
Tap This – $26
Denpurr – $51

Scone is the only country track that hosts a group race (Group 3 Darley Dark Jewel) and fans and punters alike flock to the course. Seeing a country track packed with punters is a delight for anyone watching and when you have all the big-name trainers in attendance, the popularity expands even more.

For Australian racing to be successful, more country tracks need standalone carnivals and meetings. Betting at Randwick and Rosehill each and every week can become tedious for punters, so having a country meeting in the headlights is a refreshment needed as we come into the winter months.

Sign up to Sportsbet.com.au and load up the account for what should be a great day of racing at Hawkesbury this Saturday. The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Nancy looks a great bet in the Group 3 Godolphin Crown and it should be paying a handy each-way price.