Standalone Saturday set to return to Scone Cup Carnival

My Tagoson wins at Scone
My Tagoson crosses first in a Class 1 Maiden Plate at Scone. (Bradley Photos)

The premier event in New South Wales country racing is just around the corner, with the Scone Cup Carnival set to take place on May 13-14.

For the last two years, while the Scone Cup Day has gone ahead on the Friday, the metropolitan-status standalone Saturday has been relocated to Rosehill due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 28 it was officially announced that the meeting will return to its home track this year along with the confirmation that Darley has extended its 20-plus year partnership with Scone Race Club as headline sponsor.

“We are thrilled to sign on with the Scone Race Club and continue our support of the Club and the Hunter region,” said Godolphin Australia’s Managing Director, Vin Cox.

“We recognise the Hunter Valley as being a significant contributor to the thoroughbred industry and it’s imperative that the Scone Cup Carnival is celebrated and its community supported to ensure the continued recognition, both nationally and internationally, of the role the Hunter Valley plays in the world-renowned Australian thoroughbred industry.”

Scone Race Club will have $1.95 million in prizemoney up for grabs over the two days.

Friday will feature the Listed $200,000 Scone Cup (1600m) and $200,000 Inglis 2YO Classic (1100m), while Saturday’s 10-race program will see the running of the Group 3 $200,000 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) for fillies and mares along with four other $140,000 Listed Stakes races.

In 2020, while the Scone Cup was able to be run and won, it was in front of empty stands due to the coronavirus restrictions at the time and the stand-alone Saturday was transferred to Rosehill.

The year 2020 also saw the Scone Yearling Sale, traditionally held the Sunday after the races, relocated to Inglis’ Riverside Stables due to the pandemic.

Due to the success of the sale, Inglis announced soon after that the change would be permanent with the sale being re-branded as the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA) May Yearling Sale.

Crowds were allowed back to the track in 2021, but the club decided it would have been irresponsible to sponsors and all involved if it pressed ahead with the Saturday meeting with the risk of last-minute COVID restrictions hanging a cloud over its head.

Held during the famous Scone Horse Festival, ‘The Cup’ has been synonymous with the town since 1947 and is the highlight of many social calendars, so last week’s official announcement of the return of the two-day carnival was welcomed by all.

With the Scone Horse Festival being cancelled in 2020 and scaled down last year, plans are in full swing for this year’s 41st anniversary event.

Held from May 5-15, the festival will include a main street horse parade, equine extravaganza, charity rodeo, sheep dog trials, yarns night, polo, farrier’s competition, thoroughbred industry awards, stud farm tour, sportsman’s luncheon and culminating in the Scone Cup Calcutta and two-day race carnival. Grand finale fireworks and a family picnic event on Lake Glenbawn then officially mark the close of the festival.

Tickets are now on sale for a range of hospitality options across the two biggest days in NSW country racing.

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