It’s the biggest event of the year for the town of WALCHAthat boasts a population of just 1400 but swells substantially later this week.
Located 425km north east of Sydney, Walcha will be presenting its 139th running of the $45,000 Walcha Cup on Friday with the eight-race TAB meeting preceding Memorial Raceday on Saturday.
“Without doubt they’re two of the biggest social days of the year in Walcha as we welcome members, guests and friends to the Walcha Cup Carnival for 2024,” said Simone Timbs, Walcha Jockey Club’s secretary/manager.
“We start off on the Friday [9 February] with the TAB meeting – a Racing NSW Country Showcase program – offering $295,000 in prizemoney.
“Apart from the great racing on Cup Day we will have bar facilities, food and beverage options and a Fashions on the Field competition.”
The three features are the Walcha Cup (1440m), $50,000 Ron Martin Super Maiden (1000m) and the $35,000 Lightning Handicap (1000m).
“Then on Saturday [10 February] we host a Family Day bringing together two of the best afternoons of racing in Walcha.
“It’s free entry on Saturday with face painting, a jumping castle, ice creams, a kids’ Fashions on the Field competition and the popular foot race around the course.
“Tickets are available online via the walcharaces.com website. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Walcha races in 2024!”
Meanwhile, 800km away at WAGGA, Murrumbidgee Turf Club will recognise Rodney Parsons OAM and the late Tom Patton with races in their honour during February.
“On Thursday [8 February] we will honour Rodney, a former MTC and Southern Districts Racing Association treasurer who was first elected to the MTC board in 1989,” said MTC’s CEO, Jason Ferrario.
“Mr Parsons was involved in a number of major projects during his tenure with the MTC including the construction of a new track, grandstand and big screen.
“In 2006 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his services to the Wagga community and accountancy.”
Rodney’s outstanding contribution to the racing industry was recognised in 2014 when he received the prestigious Simon Nivison Award from Racing NSW.
Then on Sunday 25 February, MTC will honour the late former bookmaker Tom Patton who was born and raised in Wagga and started out as a bookies clerk in 1956.
“Tom gained his bookmakers licence and fielded throughout the Southern Districts until the age of 83,” Mr Ferrario said.
“Tom’s face was a familiar sight in Wagga’s betting ring for almost six decades and fielded at his last Wagga Cup Carnival in 2013.
“All our life members will be invited, and it will be great to see all of them on raceday – I can guarantee Tom Patton would have written a bet for nearly all of those life members!”
– Racing NSW