Year of firsts a boon for 2016 Wodonga Gold Cup

THE Wodonga Gold Cup will break new ground on a number of fronts when it goes ahead on Friday.

The main race is boasting one of its strongest fields to date – 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir is bringing two horses to Wodonga, with one, Profit Share, entered in the Cup.

The entry of the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Tashbeeh will mark the first time a group-raced horse will contest the Cup.

Prizemoney is also at a record high, topping the $100,000 mark for the first time thanks to a Vobis Gold bonus of $20,000 for eligible horses, which has bumped the potential prize pool up to $110,000. 

Racing Wodonga general manager Tom O’Connor said it was important for the event to reach milestones every year.

“It just adds to what we’re trying to achieve in growing the Cup,” he said.

“There’s the crowd and the community support that’s growing, but we want the racing program to grow with it as well.

“We want the big trainers coming to town with good horses so that the quality of racing everyone is watching is at a high standard, as well as everything that’s going on off the track.”  

In a quiet bonus for the club, Country Racing Victoria’s November board meeting will be held in Wodonga prior to the meet.

And while Mr O’Connor is pleased with the strides the main race has taken, he said he was mindful of ensuring the rest of the card was up to scratch. 

“We’re mindful of growing the other races, we want to have a couple of showcase races there,” he said.

“That assists the program, if someone is sending a truck up from Melbourne, they’ll put another two or three horses on to target those races.

“You want the whole program to be very strong, and that also gives our local trainers the chance to pick off a race, which they normally do.” 

Sunny conditions have been forecast for Friday’s meet, with clear skies and a top of 24 degrees expected. 

The Wodonga Gold Cup is scheduled to jump at 4pm.

Gates open at 11:30am.