by Brooke Duncan
RACING: Last Saturday was a day to remember for Chinchilla jockey Shannyn Barlow as she took home the win for race six at the Black Toyota Chinchilla Christmas Races.
The day was full of fashion, entertainment, and, of course, the races themselves.
Chinchilla Race Club president Terry Stewart said he estimated between 1000-1100 people attended.
"Obviously it's not as many as say three or four years ago when all the big construction boom was in full flight, but it was... a good crowd,” Stewart said.
He said the track was in excellent condition after recent rain.
"It greened up the place nicely. The track was in great nick, so we had a lot of compliments around the track.”
It was a tough day of competition, with competitors vying for the win in six races.
Race one, the Carlton Benchmark 60 Handicap 1200m, was taken out by Madeleine Wishart riding Heza Chumley, while jockey Melody O'Brien riding Hidden Angel nabbed the win for race two, the Giovenco Class B Handicap 1030m.
Billie-Rose Derbyshire on Squeemi claimed the Procrew Open Handicap 1030m, while race four, the Caltex Starmart Chinchilla Benchmark 55 Handicap 1400m was taken out by Nathan Evans riding Mendelssohn.
The Black Toyota Chinchilla Cup Open Handicap 1400m was won by Jason Missen riding Better Idea and race six, the The Patron's QTIS Maiden Plate 1400m, was won by Shannyn Barlow riding Sir Titanite.
Barlow said it was a special feeling to win in front of her home crowd.
"It was good, I don't really get nervous anymore but... it's a bit different riding in front of a home crowd... it's a different feeling, riding at home, but more exciting,” she said.
"I've been riding for a while, but it was the first win for my team... the stable that I ride for, and it was... good to finally get a win on (Sir Titanite).”
"I've been working for (trainers) Jemimah and Mark for years now so... if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be doing it, and they had a lot of faith in me and to get a win for them is probably one of the best feelings.”
Managing owner of Sir Titanite, Michael Moloney, said it was a good win.
"He got to the front about 800 out and no-one caught him basically,” Moloney said.
"It's always good to win on your home ground for the trainer.”
Moloney said Sir Titanite hadn't been racing particularly well recently, so it was good to see the result.
"There was glimpses of hope that there was a win in him, he's got that now so he's got to go on with it.”
As for the main event, Chinchilla Race Club president Terry Stewart said he was pleased to see a horse trained by Bob Murray take the win.
"It was great, Bob Murray, the Murray clan from Eidsvold actually trained the winner, and they have been stalwarts of racing, and country racing, for as long as I can ever remember,” Stewart said.
"Very long tradition with the Murrays from Eisvold and it was really good to see them win, and the Murray boys were there, and they actually sent horses to Gladstone as well that day, so they won the first race in Gladstone and then they won the Chinchilla Cup.”
The Christmas races were the last event on the Chinchilla Race Club calendar for 2017, and Murray said the club had some big plans for next year, including a $90,000 development.
"We've got a grant from Queensland Racing for $90,000 and that money is to build a shed that we'll be putting stables in, and once we've put stables into the shed they'll be rented out to trainers,” he said.
"So the idea is to draw some more trainers to the track, rent out the stables so we can become a little bit more self-sustainable, and this year we got some really, really good new sponsors and everything goes according to plan, we'll boost the prize money on cup day.”
"Chinchilla is trying to set itself for, to get ourselves a TAB race. So we've been working towards that for a couple of years and I think we're getting closer to it.”
"I would just like to say a really big thank you to all our sponsors... because without sponsors country clubs don't survive, and I would also like to thank our committee which put a lot of work in to get the place like it is, and we've gained a bit of a reputation as a really good country race venue, and we're getting plenty of support and we need to keep it that way.”