Q RACING CEO Brendan Comyn has hailed the Queanbeyan Cup’s move to the Spring Racing Carnival as a success after Sunday’s race day saw a dramatic increase in attendance and betting turnover.
But Comyn acknowledged he was at a loss to explain why the Cup had failed to attract a higher quality field after just 10 runners jumped in Queanbeyan’s premier race.
Sunday’s Cup was the second staging of the race this year after the 2011/12 running of the 2000m showpiece was held in April.
The Cup has traditionally been held as part of the autumn racing calendar before Q Racing made the decision earlier this year to switch it to October, primarily in a bid to find warmer weather.
And Comyn said Sunday’s picture-perfect conditions had more than justified the decision.
“Betting turnover was up nearly $500,000 compared to the last Cup so the punters out there must have been happy with the change,” he said.
“On course we’d have been lucky to get 1000 people here [in April] where attendance on Sunday was 1870 which was great and it meant bar sales were up as well.”
I total, betting turnover on the day ran to almost $1.3million, up from less than $850,000 previously resulting in a major financial boost for the club.
But while turnover and attendance were both up, Comyn expressed his disappointment the Cup had been unable to attract a higher quality field despite an increase in prize money and improved track conditions.
“I honestly have no idea why trainers have stayed away,” he said. “It’s just not logical. If you ask the jockeys, the track is the best it has been in years and it’s not due to a lack of prize money.
“You’ve got trainers who’ve stuck with provincial meetings running at $22,000 (prize money) and left us alone at $40,000…I can’t understand it.
“If they don’t want to come, they won’t come, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
On the track, a major upset saw the 2012/13 Cup taken out by the Tara Laine trained Setta Rocks ahead of highly fancied favourite Fullerton.
While most of the pre-race attention had focused on Canberra horses Fullerton, Awi Acting and Sydney raider Al Ahmar, Setta Rocks was never troubled in posting a comfortable four-length victory.
Setta Rocks’ win marks the second time in succession the Cup has been won by a horse out of Kembla Grange following Peal of Bells’ success in April.
The next event on Q Racing’s calendar will be Defence Forces Cup Day on October 28.