Walcha says track fine for carnival

KEVIN Ferrier has assured owners and trainers the Walcha track will be fit and perfect for racing when it stages its two-day Walcha Cup Carnival early next month.

The longstanding Walcha secretary has been stung by some reports of the track being too hard.

“We have heard some reports having it as hard as concrete,” Ferrier said.

“That’s not true. 

“It’s going to be perfect.”

Walcha president Jim Nivison backed that up on Monday at Armidale’s Walcha Cup Prelude meeting when he showed The Leader pictures of the Walcha track taken on Monday morning.

“The track is in great nick,” Nivison said.

“Sure it’s been dry but we’ve been watering it. 

“Look, you can see the difference where we have been watering and on the edges where it doesn’t reach.”

The Leader can attest to a good grass coverage.

The club admits the dry spell has everyone concerned but is preparing for a huge two days on February 7-8.

“There are plenty of horses around, the track is good and  we’re looking forward to a big two days,” Nivison said.

The Armidale Jockey Club staged the Walcha Cup Prelude on Monday on a track rated a Good 2. 

It was one of the few times in living memory where racegoers could remember dust being created by horses.

Walcha Cup Prelude winner Jefferson Park won exemption from ballot in the February 7 Walcha Cup for his impressive front-running win.

He is owned by  Nivison’s mother Jill Nivison and will be  striving to emulate the victory of half brother Mt Rainier in a Walcha Cup that was transferred to Armidale from Walcha because of heavy rain.

The Walcha-owned gelding, trained by Tamworth’s Craig Martin, isn’t the only Walcha-owned horse striving to win this year’s Walcha Cup.

Grey gelding Star Of Dubai, second to Jefferson Park, is also a Cup contender.

Trained by Luke Griffith at Scone, the gelding is raced by owner-breeders Peter and Helen Wauch.

He finished two and three quarter lengths astern of Jefferson Park on Monday.

“It was quite a good run,” Peter Wauch said.

“He doesn’t like the hard tracks though. 

“He wasn’t good enough today but the Walcha Cup distance suits him. 

“He did run second in the Gunnedah Cup over 1600m,” Wauch said.

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