Trainers, owners and jockeys will flock to the Bega Valley this weekend in a bid to take home some of the more than $500,000 in prize money on offer at the 2024 Bega Cup Carnival.
CEO of the Sapphire Coast Turf Club, Rob Tweedy, told East Coast Radio it was a big weekend for the region.
“It all starts with a round of golf in Bega and Merimbula on Friday followed by a calcutta on Friday night before we launch into Day 1 of the Carnival on Saturday,” Tweedy said.
“Gates open at midday both days, we’ve got a Hawaiian theme on the Saturday, so there’s a complimentary drink for anyone who dusts off the Hawaiian shirt and that’s followed by a big calcutta at Club Sapphire on Saturday night,” he said.
“We back up on Sunday for our grand final, Bega Cheese Bega Cup Day.”
Sunday’s feature race will be the 149th running of the Bega Cup and it’s 23rd edition at the Kalaru track.
Mr Tweedy said jockeys, trainers and owners have descended on the Bega Valley from far and wide for the $80,000 race.
“We have big plans for the 150th running of the cup in 2025 so that will be huge but we’ve got plenty happening this year as well,” Tweedy said.
“We’re luring strong fields for the Bega Cup, it’s strengthening up every year with that carrot that if you win the Bega Cup, you get to go into the $3 million Big Dance Qualifier at Randwick, and yeah we’ve got a few prominent trainers that have nominated and are coming down to race on Bega Cup Day on Sunday so we’re looking forward to a strong race day this year.”
Among those are high profile Sydney trainers John O’Shea (KOKORO) and Matthew Smith (pictured above) (PIONEER LASS & ZAMBRERO) that will have a crack at the Bega Cup while local trainers Barb Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones (pictured below) currently have two runners (ONE AYE & LOUIE’S LEGACY) in this year’s cup and will be aiming to make it four Bega Cup victories in a row after MERCURIAL LAD won in 2021, ROOM NUMBER in 2022, and MANDERBOSS in 2023!
South Coast trainer Theresa Bateup perhaps has one of the more probable chances to win this year with four runners (THE GURU, CRACKALACKA, VICTORY AT OMAHA & VAIN INVADER) set to contend the $80,000 Cup.
“The Cup is huge but there’s more than half a million dollars in prize money on offer over the two days, so we’re really looking forward to a big weekend,” Tweedy said.
“We’ll be expecting over 1,000 attendees on the Saturday and at least twice that on Sunday, everyone is welcome to come along, bring the family and have a great day out.”
Images: Sapphire Coast Turf Club, Matthew Smith Racing