Day At The Track

Cups move has merit

07:00 AM 09 Jun 2020 NZST
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Mighty Conqueror,Harness racing
Hamilton Content Creators photo

Prominent trainer Greg Bond has thrown his support behind a potential move that would see the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups run as early as November this year.

Gloucester Park Chief Executive Officer Michael Radley told The Sunday Times the club was giving strong consideration to bringing both races forward from the traditional January timeslot.

The Inter Dominion, which was to be run in New South Wales this year, was pencilled in to start on November 28 and conclude on December 12.

The Inter Dominion Event Committee postponed this year’s series last week with no state able to host three rounds of heats and final.

The cancellation of the series opened up the possibility for Gloucester Park to explore bringing forward their flagship races.

Bond, who together with his wife Skye won this year’s WA Pacing Cup with Mighty Conqueror, said he would welcome bringing both races forward two months and look to run them alongside the TABtouch Masters at Ascot.

“I don’t think it’s really an issue,” Bond told TABradio.

“As an industry we have to work in with one another and I think we piggy-backed on the gallops when we had the Inters a few years ago.

“Listening to what people are saying, it makes pretty good sense.”

Standardbreds that competed in Perth’s most recent Inter Dominion in 2017 shared the charter flight with east coast thoroughbreds engaged in the TABtouch Masters.

Bond said the move could attract some of Australasia’s best pacers to Perth and create a strong alternative for those runners left without the chance to run in the Inter Dominion.

“It makes the logistical side of travel for anyone that wants to come from the eastern states easier because you’re guaranteed a plane,” he said.

“We’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, the same as any business has to.

“With the lack of big racing between now and the end of the year in the eastern states it creates an opportunity to attract two or three potential travellers to run in those races if we structure it right.

“I was speaking to Tim Butt the other day and he indicated to me he’d be keen as mustard to bring Field Marshal over again and have a crack.”

Bond said east coast participation could hinge on whether prize money for the feature races took a hit in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Astute reinsman Luke McCarthy, who won this year’s Miracle Mile with King Of Swing and was set to drive in this year’s Fremantle Cup before Alta Orlando was scratched, said moving the Cups would be a “brilliant idea”.

“With everything going on here, especially with the Inter Dominion not being run in Sydney, it seems like an ideal time to take advantage of that,” he said.

“Getting the flights and getting over is the main thing.

“We’ve come to Perth a lot of times before and stayed with Greg and Skye and had a lot of success and we’ve never been afraid to travel horses.”

Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s General Manager of Racing Charlotte Mills said the move was being assessed and a decision would soon be made on any date change.


Tim Walker

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