Forget Flemington, all roads lead to Tabulam
TABULAM is a far cry from Flemington's flash marquees and champagne-sipping patrons, but the cup meeting tomorrow will still draw large crowds and some of the best horse flesh from around the region.
While tickets to the Saab or Emirates tent at Flemington are the most sought-after in Melbourne, in Tabulam you can bring your own tent and camp.
At the Melbourne Cup it may be spot the star, but at Tabulam it's a case of sleeping out under the stars.
Its picnic atmosphere and five-race program has secured Tabulam a special place on the region's racing calendar.
And with more than $46,000 in prizemoney on offer during the day, some of the leading trainers in the area will be sending some of their top prospects and best hoops in a bid to ride away with some of that cash.
Top of the program is race four, the Casino RSM Club Tabulam Cup (1000m), with the Gary Nielsen-trained Kings Joker and the Danny Bowen-trained Smokin Epic which are among the leading contenders.
Although Kings Joker has finished middle of the pack in its last two starts, it won the Lennox Head Rating 62 Handicap over 1000m at Ballina on October 19.
It's a similar story for Bowen's Smokin Epic, which claimed the Nick and Sharon Rudgley Maiden Plate (1000m) at Ballina on October 6.
But the two Ballina trainers will have to beat Jack Gallagher's runner in the Cup, Ruler of Stars, which has finished first, second and third in its last three starts
Trained at Grafton, Ruler Of Stars won the Graduation/Alumni Rating 57 Handicap (1000m) at Lismore back in May.
More recently he finished second at Port Macquarie on October 11 and third at Coffs Harbour on October 24.
Admission prices to the Tabulam race meeting are $15 for adults, $10 concession and children under 14 free.
There is free camping on site (some conditions apply) and some of the local hotels have accommodation and transport packages.
Check the website tabulamraces.org.au for more details.