The big crowds of past years were eclipsed by the massive turnout at the iconic Louth Races on Saturday.
To thunderous applause the Rodney Robb, Nyngan trained Rusty Motorbike, ridden by Parkes jockey Michael Hackett, gained a photo finish decision in the $24,000 Landmark-Dermot Murray Memorial Louth Cup (2,000 metres) after an exciting battle with the top weight Zartini over the concluding stages.
Given a good run in fifth position by Hackett, the nine year old Rusty Motorbike (paying $4) hit the lead in the straight and prevailed by a short half head over the Mark Ward, Condobolin trained Zartini with Collins Street from the Craig Tyack stables at Tullibigeal, a length and a half away third.
Rusty Motorbike won the Louth Cup in 2016 and overall has won three times at the track.
Robb also won the opening event, the Cobar Rugby Union Club Maiden Plate with debut maker Supreme Attraction which led all the way for a convincing win from Hi My Girl and Brimondo.
Owned by George Tanks from Parkes, Supreme Attraction was ridden by the widely travelled Michael Heagney who was aboard a winner at Port Hedland in Western Australia last week after riding the previous week at meetings in the NSW Riverina area.
Strongly supported in the betting ring, the Wayne Prisk, Cobar trained Jawsome, after being headed in the straight, fought back to win the Matilda Motor Inn & Orana Motel Dubbo Class 2 Handicap, over 1400 metres.
Raced by Jarrod Marsden and members of the Cobar Camel Racing syndicate, Jawsome (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $10) beat Amare and Heeby Frenly.
Following a recent win with Quietly Confident, Dubbo trainer Cindy Monaghan and her partner Tim Moses won the Sullivan’s Mining & Hardware & Bourke Steel & Hire Benchmark 55 Handicap (1,200 metres) with Minamahal ridden by Canberra jockey Richard Bensley. Setting a new track record, Minamahal burst through the pack to defeat Mambo Fever and the Cobar trained Vonnida.
With Parkes jockey Tiffany Jeffries in the saddle the Garry Bignell, Nyngan trained Little Leena led throughout to win the Rice’s Back ‘O Bourke Cordials Splashe Cola Maiden Handicap (1,400 metres) while Bon Honour (Wendy Peel, $9) led all the way to win the 1,700 metres Shindy’s Inn Lets Have A Lager Lap Class 3 Handicap.
Louth doubled the prizemoney for the 60th anniversary meeting and, with big fields and trainers coming from far and wide, there was the likelihood of close finishes with a dead heat for first recorded in the MacDonald & Co Woolbrokers Class 1 Handicap, 1,000 metres.
The photo finish was unable to split the Brett Thompson, Gulgong trained Algeroba (Alena Skerritt) and Original Prankster, (Richard Bensley) trained at Canberra by Garry Kirkup.
Finishing third was Raine Joy trained at Menindee by Wayne Marsden.—Colin Hodges