CONAN and the barbarians are descending on Armidale Jockey Club tomorrow.
Not that they will sack the joint but rather back the club with one of its biggest race days of the year – Cox Plate day.
The Baa Baas are a rugby union club who are based at the St Kilda Hotel.
Licensee of that fine establishment is one Harley Payne.
He and the St Kilda Hotel have featured in The Leader on past occasions when that meritorious gelding, Monton, won some big races and had the pub “rocking off its foundations”.
Tomorrow Payne hopes the Baa Baas can help rock the foundations of the Armidale club, especially the feature race, the St Kilda Hotel Benchmark 55 Handicap (1100m).
The Barbarians had an AGM this week at which Payne was drafted on the committee as a vice president.
That’s fine, Payne said. He’ll help them out as much as he can.
“The Barbarians have also come on board as a sponsor of the race meeting with us (St Kilda Hotel),” Payne said yesterday.
“It’s good we’ve got a few local businesses to support and sponsor the meeting.
“John Fryer’s one. It’s good for the club – great that local businesses sponsor a race.”
Barbarian publicity officer Sam Piddington also advised “Conan and the Baa Baas would like to invite all players, sponsors and supporters to their annual race day”.
“Buses from the St Kilda leave at approximately 1.30pm and free entry passes are available at the bar.”
Armidale Jockey Club secretary Jim Dedes is expecting a good crowd for one of the biggest days of the year, regardless of the Baa Baas’ sacking/backing.
“It used to be the Albies race day but that all chanced with the trimesters at the Uni,” Dedes said.
“Now it’s barbarians’ day.
“The St Kilda and Harley have always been great sponsors and supporters.
“I think they are bringing about 50 or 60 people.
“The other race-day sponsors are bringing about 20 each and we also have another private function of about 100.
“It’s always a great day with great racing.
“Only one problem. Our last race is 5.05pm and the Cox Plate, now it’s the last race on the program at Moonee Valley, is three quarters of an hour later.”
It could be a great after-party at the St Kilda.
Especially if Final Finale can win the St Kilda B55 for local trainer Paul Grills.
She hasn’t had much luck of late after winning the St Alberts Cup at Armidale back on September 14.
She drew a good gate (2) that day too for Grills.
“Barraba was a good run. She drew wide and got caught wide but only got beaten 1.8 lengths,” Grills said.
“At Bundarra, she got caught in behind them and couldn’t get out.”
Final Finale has drawn barrier five tomorrow in a smallish field of nine as Grills also looks towards the November 10 Guyra Cup meeting at Armidale with Dustys Felt and Kingston Time.
Tomorrow will be a good day regardless of the Barbarians, Grills laughed.
“I’ll be there with bells on,” he said.