LEADING Southern District trainer Mitch Beer has questioned the value of The Big Dance on country cups.
Beer will head to Dubbo on Friday to send the ex-Chris Waller-trained Matowi around in the postponed $100,000 The Big Dance Qualifier Wellington Cup (1600m).
Half of the field are made up by city or provincial trainers and Beer believes the introduction of the $2 million Big Dance carrot on country cups will change the landscape forever.
Racing NSW have introduced the Big Dance, to be run for the first time on Melbourne Cup day this year, where the first two runners home in 25 designated country cups across the state qualify for the $2 million final.
"I purchased (Matowi) pre-Big Dance so I didn't know that all country cups were going to become virtually listed races," Beer said.
"That's changed the demographic of country cups in NSW and I certainly don't think for the better.
"Does it make the races better ratings wise and turnover wise, yeah probably, but what country cups were is a thing of the past. Realistically the hope and dream of winning your home cup or the cup in your local area has become significantly harder."
Matowi has had two runs for Beer, finishing down the track in the Wagga Town Plate Prelude and then a Benchmark 100 on a Saturday at Flemington.
The six-year-old steps up to a mile on Friday and is ready to run a much better race, according to Beer.
"I actually think he can and he'll go around at pretty decent odds," he said.
"I'm not sure if he can win or not, I'm not really worried about his first two starts, now he's fit enough to do something.
"I was really happy with his (Albury) trial, he's got the blinkers going back on as well so everything indicates to us he should run well and should get everything that he needs."
Comeback jockey Kody Nestor will take the ride on Matowi, who will carry 61 kilograms from barrier 11.
The cup was set to be run at Wellington last Saturday was the meeting was postponed due to the wet weather.
Beer had already scratched and is happier with the conditions on Friday, stepping back from 1700m to the mile.
Meantime, Beer has sent last-start Rosehill winner Mnementh to the paddock with the Kosciuszko in mind. He was also considering a tilt at the $150,000 Golden Topaz at Swan Hill but has decided against it.
WAGGA owner-breeder Paul Galloway made a nice purchase at last week's Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale.
Galloway paid $360,000 for Frankly Savvy, a Savabeel mare in foal to Maurice.
Frankly Savvy was trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, before finishing with Will Freedman. She raced on six occasions for a couple of wins.
Frankly Savvy is a half sister to last-start Flemington stakes winner Ocean Beyond and is also closely related to Detonator Jack, who won his first three starts before placing third in group one South Australia Derby last month.
Mitch Beer was also active at the sale, combining with Harbour Bloodstock to purchase two-year-old filly Shalook for $30,000.
TWO Southern District trainers enjoyed success hopping the border last Saturday.
The Donna Scott-trained Gottaluvtrucks ($3.30) took out a Benchmark 58 Handicap (1590m).
Jerilderie trainer Ross Purcell was also in the winner's list as Zarsupreme made it two wins from his last three starts with victory in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1300m) at the big odds of 50-1.
FORMER Wagga couple Maddy Collins and Josh Richards combined for success at Pakenham on Monday.
The pair won with Let's Get Animal ($12) in the $25,000 Benchmark 58 Handicap (1600m).
Let's Get Animal remains owned by a big group of predominantly Riverina connections and has now won eight of 41 starts.
It was Collins' second winner since making the move to Melbourne.
ALL three codes of racing will conduct meetings at Wagga on Friday.
In a rarity, Murrumbidgee Turf Club, Riverina Paceway and Wagga and District Greyhound Racing Club all hold TAB meetings on Friday.
There is no shortage of racing at the meetings either, with eight races at MTC, a 10-race card at the trots before finishing with 11 races at the dogs.
It results in $348,965 in prizemoney being up for grabs in the city on the day.
The feature of the three codes is at the greyhounds where they will host their cup meeting, where a strong field has been assembled for the $33,785 Ladbrokes Graeme Hull Memorial Cup Final (525m).
MURRUMBIDGEE Turf Club will honour a couple of long-time contributors on Friday.
The seventh running of the $29,000 Lamont Classic 2YO Handicap (1300m) will be the feature race and has attracted a field of 11.
The Lamont Classic is held in recognition of former long-serving MTC president Stuart Lamont.
"The Lamont Classic is named in honour of our former board member and club president Stuart Lamont, recognising him for his 25 plus years of service on the MTC board of directors," MTC chief executive Jason Ferrario said.
"We're delighted to get the 11 runners. Sometimes the numbers for two-year-old racing can be light on but 11 is a good number of horses for that event."
MTC will also honour long-serving bar manager John King at the meeting.
The Thank You John King 3YO&UP Maiden Plate (1300m) will be held on Friday after he finished up with the club at the end of April.
"As our former bar manager, we just want to thank him for his efforts over the years," Ferrario said.
The track received 30 millimetres of rain this week and was a heavy 10 as of Wednesday morning with the hope it can get back to an eight by Friday.
Friday: Wagga (TAB)
Thursday: Young (TAB)
Friday: Wagga (TAB)
Tuesday: Wagga (TAB)
Friday: Wagga (TAB)
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