By Russell Bennett
One perfect weekend.
That’s what Cranbourne racegoers were presented with from Friday’s Pinker Pinker Plate, to Sunday’s signature event – the $300,000 TAB Cranbourne Cup.
It was in stark contrast to the running of the 2016 Cup being abandoned due to strong winds, with Cranbourne Turf Club chief executive Neil Bainbridge saying: “We were probably owed one after that.”
“I suppose the damage that the winds did last year, we were probably owed a couple (of good days) to make sure we could claw back and get back ahead of the game because it certainly knocked the club around a little bit financially,” he admitted.
But racegoers were treated to a spectacular weekend, with Falika – trained by Cranbourne’s Greg Eurell – fittingly claiming Friday night’s Pinker Pinker Plate, named in memory of Eurell’s 2011 Cox Plate winner.
“Obviously Friday night was a great result, but also with the National Breast Cancer Foundation function we had with approximately 400 people in an enclosure hosted by Shane Crawford, so we raised some money for a really important partner and a really important charity we’re aligned with,” Mr Bainbridge explained.
“That was a really good night and a great way to kick off the new night racing season.”
Mr Bainbridge said organisers were delighted with the near-flawless weather over the weekend, and the good behaviour of the racegoers who packed the venue in droves.
“Patrons were really well behaved,” he said.
“I know the police and security were really pleased with everyone’s behaviour.”
And off the track, the Fashions on the Field added plenty of colour to Cup day.
“Cranbourne Park, our fashions on the field sponsor, continue to deliver great outcomes for us,” Mr Bainbridge said.
“We’re delighted to be involved with them – they’re a tremendous local business. “The shopping precinct is now second to none and has helped drive Cranbourne forward. For them to be involved with our fashions on the field is terrific for us.”
Mr Bainbridge also spoke of the excitement of seeing Godolphin star Folkswood – ridden by Kerrin McEvoy and trained by Charlie Appleby – salute in the $300,000 showpiece TAB Cranbourne Cup on Sunday.
“We always love to see Cranbourne horses win, there’s no question about that, but from a club point of view to have an international with the Godolphin stable target the Cranbourne Cup come out and win it with what’s clearly a high-class and serious galloper, and certainly a horse that’ll be worth following for the remainder of the Spring, was great,” he said.
“The Cranbourne Cup was on the back page of the Sydney paper on Monday morning and that doesn’t happen too often.
“I think that horse now is a chance to go on to a Cox Plate with its key target being the Emirates Stakes on the last day of the Flemington carnival so it’s a serious Group One horse and it was great for them to target our race.”