Tennant Creek Cup Day down on numbers in 2024

Tennant Creek racing news
Tennant Creek Racing Club president Mike Nash believes there are several factors behind the drop in numbers for the region’s annual Cup Day meeting.

It’s Tennant Creek Cup Day on Saturday, and although racing club president Mike Nash is looking forward to the occasion, he was left surprised with the final acceptors for the six-event program.

The Two Cup Race Day is one of the big events in the NT’s Barkly Region, but numbers are down with just 33 horses to feature at Hagan Park.

Apart from the $30,000 Tennant Creek Cup (1600m), the other feature race is the $21,500 Denis Staunton Memorial Cup (1200m) for the 0-70 class.

Both races have attracted five starters, and Nash said there were factors that may have contributed to the drop in numbers.

Tennant Creek Cup Day clashed with the Mount Isa races last year, but there is no meeting in the Queensland mining town this weekend.

“Who knows the reason why numbers are down, but the Alice Springs Cup Carnival was held a month earlier this year,” Nash said.

“Things have changed — perhaps horses in Alice Springs have been sent to the paddock or are resting up before the Darwin carnival.

“A lot of horses raced here in the past following the Alice Springs carnival, although we only had 38 runners last year.

“I felt sure that if there was no racing in Mount Isa, we would have had a few horses from there.

“I remember when they used to come over on a regular basis every year.

“Those Mount Isa trainers might be out of the game too, I don’t know.

“In regards to the numbers on Saturday, yeah, I’m not happy, but what can you do.”

Meanwhile, Nash said the local community was once again looking forward to Cup Day, and with fine weather forecast, it should be yet another big occasion.

“All the girls are very excited about frocking up,” he said.

“Those from stations are coming to town, it’s a big thing for them too.

“They love the races, camp drafts and rodeos — anything to do with horses.

“The town looks forward to Cup Day, very much so, and we get plenty of tourists turn up.

“As usual, it should be a wonderful day.”

The Tennant Creek Racing Club had issues with its track in 2022, when it was deemed too heavy after new sand was added to the surface.

However, it was given the thumbs-up last year despite 835mm of rain falling in the Barkly Region from December 2022 to March 2023.

“We’ve had around 750mm of rain since Christmas, it washed away a fair bit of sand on the track,” Nash said.

“We had to replace it, but the track will be in fine order on Saturday.”

Nash said preparations for Cup Day started in January with the pavilion, racecaller’s box, running rail and fencing at Hagan Park receiving a new coat of paint.

“As for the program itself, it’s pretty much standard this year, as it was last year with the new secretary’s office in the middle of the pavilion,” Nash added.

“The committee has a meeting fairly soon after Cup Day, normally a fortnight later while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind.”


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