Wagga Prepares For Massive Gold Cup Carnival

The city of Wagga’s ‘emblem’ is the crow which appears on the council’s coat of arms as well as branding through local businesses, with the name Wagga a Wiradjuri term for ‘place of many crows’ and from Thursday the entire city ‘takes flight’.

The Wagga Gold Cup Carnival is the biggest two-day country carnival in NSW and the Riverina region’s largest annual social event.

“We get up to 4,000 people attending on Tooheys Town Plate Day and more than 10,000 on Gold Cup Day,” declared Murrumbidgee Turf Club’s CEO, Jason Ferrario.

“Wagga-owned and based business Lucas Road Sealing won the naming rights to the 2024 Wagga Gold Cup at the MTC’s ‘100 Club’ Gala Night in March.

“It was a black-tie event that we held in a marquee in the Mounting Yard and attended by 350 guests and Lucas Road Sealing was lucky enough to be the last of the 100 businesses drawn out of the barrel.”

The Wagga Gold Cup Carnival draws many of Australia’s leading trainers and jockeys and kicks off on Thursday with the running of the $200,000 Tooheys Town Plate (1200m).

Last year the Albury-trained Mnementh edged out Front Page in a nail-biting finish. The runner-up went on to claim his second straight The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick in the spring.

Friday is the big one with the running of the $200,000 Lucas Road Sealing Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) with the winner qualifying for the $3m Big Dance (1600m) at Royal Randwick in November.

Trainer Chris Waller will be aiming for his third successive Cup win following victories by Wicklow (2023) and Aleas (2022) – he also won the Cup in 2019 (Abdon), 2018 (Life Less Ordinary) and 2014 (Trade Commissioner) and this year has nominated Logan Street Lion.

Support races on Friday are the $80,000 JRC Electrical Services MTC Guineas (1600m) and $75,000 Byrne Trailers Queen of the South (1400m).

“Hospitality is a major highlight with the Tanqueray Cocktail Lounge and The Golden View Marquee the premium ticket sites – just two of more than 30 marquees erected for Gold Cup Day,” Ferrario said.

“And The Kristopher Graydon Jewellers Fashions on the Field is always hotly contested.

“The Gold Cup is one of Wagga’s hospitality industry’s biggest weeks of the year with accommodation always fully booked and some patrons settle into one of the neighbouring towns such as Junee and Gundagai.

“Local clubs, pubs and restaurants also do roaring trades during Cup week.

“And our local media plays an integral role in the success of the Gold Cup Carnival with the Wagga Daily Advertiser newspaper being lauded by Racing NSW in 2023 for the extensive and passionate coverage of the event.

“Local TV news services, Prime and WIN also provide an extensive coverage and Sky Racing’s Brad Davidson will return to conduct the Punter’s Podium, with last year’s one of the biggest in recent memory.

“Many visiting Wagga Gold Cup patrons make an annual pilgrimage to Wagga, with visitors from all parts of NSW as well as Victoria and Queensland.

“On another note, MTC’s course proper underwent the sand grooving renovation process in November 2023 (conducted every four or five years) and the racing surface, whilst always top notch, is in the absolute best order, with one jockey Danny Beasley recently claiming, ‘it is as good as any metropolitan track he rides at!’”

– Racing NSW

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