Carrying Casino's hopes: Casino residents Hayley Hancock (left) and Belinda Dockrill get some tips for Sunday’s Casino Cup race meeting from Anthony Townsend, the trainer of Casino horse Blackbeard, one of the hopefuls in the $20,000 Casino RSM Casino Cup feature race.
Carrying Casino's hopes: Casino residents Hayley Hancock (left) and Belinda Dockrill get some tips for Sunday’s Casino Cup race meeting from Anthony Townsend, the trainer of Casino horse Blackbeard, one of the hopefuls in the $20,000 Casino RSM Casino Cup feature race. Doug Eaton

Cup's record year for nominations

WET weather earlier in the year has proved to be a boon for this year’s $20,000 Casino RSM Casino Cup with a record number of nominations for the race day this Sunday.

Casino Racing Club manager Dianne Stanley said 252 nominations had been received.

Mrs Stanley said there would be nine races on the day, with two divisions in the Benchmark 50 – races five and six – to allow more horses to run.

“It’s a record year for nominations,” Mrs Stanley said.

“And the reason is that a lot of other race meetings have been called off because of wet weather, so there are a lot more horses just wanting to get a start.

“We’ve decided to divide a race on Sunday to help the trainers out with that.”

Last year’s Casino Cup winner, River Street, trained by Ballina trainer Andrew Pilling, will be starting out as favourite on the day.

However, Mrs Stanley said the sentimental favourite would be Casino’s own starter, Blackbeard, who ran second in an Open Handicap at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast on August 1.

Blackbeard’s trainer Anthony Townsend said he hoped the Casino Cup would be the galloper’s first win.

“He’s an honest horse and he’s going into the race with the right runs under his belt,” he said.

“He’ll be competitive. He’s on his home track and we’re confident the jockey can bring him home.”

Blackbeard’s jockey Priscilla Schmidt, of Eagle Farm fame, will join 13 other Cup riders in race eight at 4.20pm.

Mrs Stanley said she expected fashionistas to be out in force competing for a $1500 diamond ring as first prize in Fashions on the Field.

She said the annual event was also a family day and would include the Byron Bay Kidz Klub to help entertain the children.

The overall purse on the day is worth $95,000. Gates open at 10.30am with the first race starting at 11.45am.



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