Armidale harness racing: Uralla trainer Mitch Faulkner will drive Monterei Bay in Bill Barraclough Memorial

EXCITEMENT BUILDS: Armidale Harness Racing Club members David Munsie and Mitch Faulkner. Faulkner will contest the Bill Barraclough Memorial at the club on Sunday.

EXCITEMENT BUILDS: Armidale Harness Racing Club members David Munsie and Mitch Faulkner. Faulkner will contest the Bill Barraclough Memorial at the club on Sunday.

Uralla trainer Mitch Faulkner has been the “caretaker” of the Missile Gig – the trophy awarded to the winner of the Missile Bill Barraclough Memorial at the Armidale harness meeting on Sunday – and he would like to keep it in his stables.

Monterei Bay is the runner that Faulkner is pinning his hopes on in the feature race. “The horse has just come back from a spell and we gave him a start at Inverell last week but he galloped out,” Faulkner said. “Hopefully this week he behaves himself and is there when the whips are cracking.”

Faulkner has labelled Last Party and Pure Laughter as the main dangers. “It [Pure Laughter] has been racing in Newcastle and just got beat last week. I think it has got a sneaky little hope,” he said.

Sunday’s meeting is a big one for the Armidale Harness Racing Club. It only hosts races twice a year – and this is its big Carnival of Cups meeting. “The track is in top order and it [the Memorial] is an open race, so whatever horse has the best luck and easiest run is in with a chance,” Faulkner said.

The Armidale HRC has named the race in honour of Bill Barraclough, an Armidale HRC stalwart trainer who passed away just over 12 months ago.

“I drove for Bill when I was a junior driver,” Faulkner said. “I drove a winner for him with Berrane Tom at Tamworth back in 2004. Bill also trained a winner of the Tamworth Cup in Kelvin Kid.

“Even when he was really sick in the end, he would always turn up at working bees.”

Faulkner added: “In his younger days he played football for the Uralla Tigers with another one of our club members, John Menzies. They reckon in their day that John was the bark and Barra was the fight … Barra was one of the best guys you would ever meet.”

A nine-race program is scheduled for Sunday, and Faulkner is happy to see the fields that the club has attracted. “The club always puts on a good day.” he said. “We have attracted Ultimate Art back to defend his title and Clintal Do will also be at the meeting. He [Clintal Do] won the Golden Horse Shoe last year.”