SCONE Race Club is already planning for a bumper 2015 Scone Cup after completing a highly successful 2014 carnival that had a touch of international flavour added in with success for racing’s first lady and a presentation to an outstanding jockey.
Equine journalist Brian Russell reckoned Cameo’s $200,000 Emirates Park Scone Cup win in front of around 8500 patrons on the Friday of last month’s Cup carnival had a double investment in Australian racing by the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.
The mare, who then backed that win up with a fighting third in last Saturday’s $125,000 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1615) at Doomben, won a feature race again sponsored by the nearby Emirates Park Stud.
“Murrurundi-based Emirates, owned by His Excellency Nasser Lootah, won its third Scone Cup in four years with a mare bred by its owner, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed, at his mammoth Darley complex along the Hunter River,” Russell said.
“A difference on this occasion was that the winner, Cameo, a four-year-old mare by Shamardal, a visitor to Darley in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, is from Portrait of a Lady, a mare bred by Sheikh Mohammed and imported to Australia.
“Cameo is also the first stakes winner owned by Mohammed for his new trainer, John O’Shea.
“Cameo is the third winner, her first three foals, from Portrait of a Lady.
“A winner once in USA, at a mile, she is a half-sister by the great sire A.P. Indy to Layman, a Group 3 winner over the same distance at Salisbury in England in track record time and a Group 1 second and third in France at two.”
The international flavour added an extra dash of publicity to a two-day meeting which enjoyed massive turnover.
Scone Race Club chief executive officer Sarah Wills was delighted with all facets of the two days.
“We’re very happy with it all.
“Everything ran smoothly and the racing was extremely good.”
“Emirates Park Scone Cup day attracted record nominations and fields for Saturday’s Inglis Guineas-Coolmore Dark Jewel race day were very strong with all the leading Sydney stables well represented.”
Scone chairman Noel Leckie was also delighted.
“We had a fantastic two days of racing,” he said.
“The weather was superb which makes such a difference. It really gets people in the mood and makes conditions pleasant for all racegoers and participants.
“We had over 8500 patrons on Friday which is an excellent turnout. On Saturday we had around 5000 which is very pleasing to see this day grow.”
Saturday’s stand-alone metropolitan TAB day was a success, with racing’s first lady, Gai Waterhouse, winning the $400,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas with Cosmic Endeavour.
O’Shea backed up from his Scone Cup win with Cameo to win the $200,000 Group 3 Coolmore Dark Jewel with Seaside.
Scone trainer Rod Northam finished third in the Dark Jewel with Myamira as well as winning on the day with possible Ramornie-bound Big Money.
He was also one of four local trainers to win races on the Friday when Voodoo Lad won the $100,000 Inglis 2YO Challenge.
It was a huge thrill for Leckie too, who bred the juvenile and has a share with Segenhoe Stud and partners.
“A presentation was also made to jockey Robert Thompson,” Wills said.
“Robert recently achieved the milestone of riding 4000 winners.
“John Messara, on behalf of Racing NSW, presented Robert with an inscribed silver salver and Noel Leckie, on behalf of the Scone Race Club, presented Robert with a crystal vase.”
She said a jockey competition was held over the two days as well.
The Golden Whip Award was won by Kerrin McEvoy and he was presented with a magnificent mounted gold whip.
“This trophy was donated by David Macintyre, a life member of Scone Race Club,” Wills said.
“David has not missed a Scone Cup in 56 years but due to ill health was unable to attend this year’s event. The Scone Race Club is very grateful to be able to present such a magnificent trophy.”
An Emirates Airlines Fashions on the Field competition attracted many well-dressed individuals. Mark O’Dell won the business class trip for two to New Zealand, courtesy of Emirates Airlines and Helloworld, Scone.
Hunter and North West Racing Association chief steward Shane Cullen was delighted with the smooth running of all 16 races.
“It did go off well,” he said.
“We only had the one suspension over the two days.
“The track was starting to feel it a bit by races six, seven and eight on the Saturday but by then about 200 horses had been over it.
“The carnival just seems to go from strength to strength.”
The two-day Carnival also helps, rather than hinders, local meetings scheduled around the same time.
“Tamworth raced on the Monday and had enormous fields,” he said.
“Cessnock raced and had big fields too and Armidale raced the following week and also had big fields.”
Armidale Jockey Club secretary Jim Dedes backed that up, reckoning the Tuesday meeting (held by his club more than a week after Scone) had finished with some of the biggest fields at Armidale, barring a Cup meeting, he’d seen for a long while.