International interest in Ipswich Cup Day
THE focus of the Queensland Racing Winter Carnival moves to Ipswich on Saturday for the running of the famous and historic Ipswich Cup.
Ipswich was the holder of the first official race meeting in Queensland way back in 1859.
The city continues today to be nationally, and internationally recognised for the time-honoured Ipswich Cup meeting.
In the past three years, we have seen the first female rider to win an Ipswich Cup when Tegan Harrison won aboard Brave Ali in 2014, followed by European imports Danchai for trainer Chris Waller in 2015, and Maurus for David Vandyke last year.
It has been somewhat of a rocky road for the Queensland Winter Carnival this year highlighted by the transfer of three meetings from Eagle Farm to Doomben.
The hope of all is that the last three weeks of the Carnival – being the Ipswich Cup, Tattersalls Winter Stakes at Doomben, and Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast finish the carnival off in style.
Quality fields likely
A MASSIVE 201 nominations have been received for the card on Ipswich Cup Day.
This huge number will mean many will miss a start on the day and that there should be strong full fields across the meeting.
The only race with an extension in nominations is the Ipswich Cup which had 14 originally. There is quite a bit of quality among these, however, with last year’s second placegetter Jumbo Prince having another go.
Two New Zealanders are nominated for the Cup in top rater Benzini and Tessastock.
Gai Waterhouse is aiming for a third Ipswich Cup with promising four-year-old distance mare Sort After.
The Eye Liner Stakes is a well sought after title again with 30 nominations.
Interstate trainers include Peter and Paul Snowden, Matthew Dale, Joseph Pride, Kim Waugh, Michael Moroney, and recently appointed Godolphin trainer Darren Beadman creating a race of high quality.
All eyes will be on acceptances tomorrow morning to analyse the final make-up of the card.
Look out for full Ipswich Cup fields and form in your QT on Friday and Saturday.
FOLLOWING heavy tracks for much of the Winter Carnival, grounds staff have an eye on the weather leading into the Ipswich Cup.
Almost an inch of rain fell over the weekend under the old scale. Followed by a forecast of more rain today, that will most probably ensure the track has quite a bit of give in it come the weekend.
Thankfully the forecast is for mostly fine conditions late in the week and over the weekend.
Byrne set for big day
LEADING jockey Jim Byrne is in form coming into one of his favourite meetings of the year.
After picking up two winners, including the Brisbane Cup on Saturday at Doomben, Byrne has his eye on a record fourth Ipswich Cup win this week despite having not won the race since New Zealander Sphenophyta carried him to victory in 2006.
Byrne has won 10 Ipswich Premierships, including the last two.
He has a strong lead on the ladder this year showing a great understanding of the Ipswich track.
Group 1 racing
ONLY the Tattersalls Winter Stakes on June 24 remains to complete Queensland Group 1 racing following the Super Saturday of racing at Doomben on the weekend.
The Stradbroke Handicap was won by Impending from the strong Godolphin Stable the Derby by the impressive Victorian Ruthven, and the JJ Atkins by Capital Gain to keep the sole Carnival Group 1 title in Queensland with Paul Butterworth.
After the Ipswich Cup meeting this Saturday, there is racing at Ipswich on the following two Fridays to complete the June program.