By HARRY CLARKE
GALLOPING home while carrying an onerous 60kg, Chinchilla trained Hanover Square held off a fast finishing The Irons and Mr Ticket to take out the Slater Road Services 1400m Country Cup Qualifier at Chinchilla.
The win (photographed above by Donna Reading) brings the 7YO gelding’s total winnings to just over $250,000 and puts him in strong form ahead of his next race, the Roma Cup on November 21.
Despite the win, the horse isn’t eligible for Country Cups Challenge Final to be held at Doomben on December 5, due to the fact it’s won a metropolitan race within the past two years.
Hanover Square is owned and trained by Leonard “Michael” Mawn and partner Jo Rayner. Mawn told the Caller he was “reasonably” confident before the race, based on the horse’s recent form.
“He’s had two seconds and a third in the last three starts. He was fit, and we had a very good jockey on (Paul Hamblin). Paul rode it very well,” Mawn said.
“We put the blinkers on and that made him focus a little bit better, and just kept him a bit closer in the running so that he could pick them up (on the home straight).”
FULL VIDEO OF THE RACE BY “ON THE BIT RACING AUSTRALIA”.
The Saturday meeting was the first time in 2020 that members of public were able to attend the Chinchilla racecourse, due to the pandemic.
Four ‘Covid meetings’ were held earlier this year without spectators, helping to ensure racing in the district could continue amid lockdowns.
Chinchilla Race Club president Don Critch said the committee was pleased to welcome punters back to the course, which is undergoing exciting upgrades thanks to more than $600,000 in grant money secured for this financial year.
Among the upgrade projects has been a new set of $150,000 race barriers which were used for the first time on Saturday.
“We were very happy with the whole day. I think everyone was at the stage where they were busting to get to an event after this Covid situation,” Critch said.
“We were certainly happy with the turnout of the crowd and it was a very nice day for weather. We were lucky to pick up that Country Cup Qualifier, so it made for a great day of racing as well.”
“The Chinchilla Cup on December 19 is going to be a huge event, I imagine.”
ADVERTORIAL: Among the punters who’ve said they’re keen to return to Chinchilla for the Christmas races are the staff from Parker Simmonds Solicitors.
The Chinchilla law firm sponsored the first race on Saturday’s program, the 1030m Benchmark 55 Handicap.
Staff from Parker Simmonds’ Brisbane and Gold Coast offices travelled to Chinchilla to join local staff Gilda Clarke, Julieanne Bannister and Deb Luther at the track.
Partner Simon Debritz said the race meeting was the first real opportunity for the team to visit Chinchilla for a social occasion since establishing the new branch in March 2020.
“It’s been an exciting year getting our services up and running in Chinchilla, and a lot of hard work,” Mr Debritz said.
“Some of our team members from Brisbane and the Gold Coast travel out to Chinchilla quite a bit, but those who hadn’t yet were really keen to come out and visit.
“We thought ‘what better way to properly celebrate becoming established out here than having a day at the races’.
“Obviously the pandemic has affected country towns in unique ways, so we were really keen to support this event, now that people in the community are out enjoying themselves again.”
Parker Simmonds Solicitors, located at the Charleys Creek end of Middle St, offers a wide range of legal services, including family law, employment law, personal injury, work cover, commercial law, disputes and litigation, wills and estates, conveyancing, and criminal and traffic law.
Director Bruce Simmonds has strong ties to regional Queensland, having lived in a number of towns and cities throughout the state, and growing up as the son of a Deputy Commissioner (Coal & Mining) at Queensland Rail.
Mr Debritz is originally from Biloela and has come to know Chinchilla well through his friendship with horse racing professional and former local Jim Clarke.
“Jim definitely played a part in my racing interest as we were growing up and I’ve lost count of how many local meetings in Chinchilla he’s brought me along to, over the years,” Mr Debritz said.
“It’s a great race club out here with great facilities, so it was nice to bring our city-based staff along this time, to show them what country racing is all about”.
*As a foundation sponsor of the Country Caller, Parker Simmonds Solicitors receives a free advertorial.