Richest race day

Heading for home: The field races up the straight in last year’s Country Championship heat at Taree. Another Valley, trained at Taree by Bob Milligan, was the winner.
Nanjing Night Net

THE $150,000 Mid North Coast heat of the Country Championship will form part of the richest race meeting to be conducted at Taree’s Bushland Drive track on Sunday, February 26.

This is the second successive year the MNC heat has been run in Taree, following on the phenomenal success of the 2016 event.

The heat will be the fourth in the qualifying series andis restricted to Mid North Coast stables. Taree’s Bob Milligan was successful last year with Another Valley.

Trainers will be looking to earn a start in the $400,000 Country final on Doncaster Day, Saturday April 1 at Randwick.

Overall the Showcasemeeting will carry $370,000 in prizemoney, up $50,000 on last year. All support races on the program will be worth $30,000.

Last year’s meeting attracted a crowd of around 3000 and race club chairman Greg Coleman is hoping for a similar response this year.

He expects a full field of 14 will contest the main race.

The club will support the Ronald McDonald House in Newcastle at the meeting.

“There’s usually at least two families from the Manning/Great Lakes area using the facilities at Ronald McDonald House at any given time,’’ Mr Coleman said.

“It’s a pleasure to assist the organisation.’’

The club will ask for a gold coin donation from spectators as the enter the course-proper and all proceeds will go to Ronald McDonald House.

Ronald McDonald House merchandise will also be for sale.

Mr Coleman said the club wants the meeting to be family orientated and as such he said there’ll be plenty of entertainment for children.

“We want people to get out to the track and enjoy themselves. Last yearwas a fantastic success and we’re looking to repeat that. We have the big screen operational at andthat’s another bonus.’’

He said the club is making plans for the trophies for the main race to be parachuted in during the afternoon, while racegoers have the opportunity to win passes to day one of The Championships in Randwick on Saturday April 1. Courtesybuses will runwith pick-up points at Wingham, Harrington, Old Bar, Forster-Tuncurry, Gloucester and Port Macquarie.

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