Bundy boss tips bumper Cup carnival

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Bundaberg Cup (550m)

 Final: October 5

Winner\’s prizemoney: $25,000

Consolation final: $5250 (winner)

By Mike Hill

BUNDABERG is preparing for its biggest ever Cup carnival, and newly-elected president Ricky Hassall couldn\’t be happier with preparations.

\”This will be a first for us in many ways,\” he said. \”It will be our richest race ever.

\”The Cup will carry full Group 3 level prizemoney for the first time, it\’ll be our biggest-ever  TAB meeting and the feature final will be staged on a public holiday – it\’s the Queen\’s Birthday weekend.\”

The Cup – the club\’s second for the year – offers total prizemoney of $37,500 with $25,000 going to the winning connections of the Monday, October 5, final.

A similar prizemoney pool was planned for the 550m feature earlier in the year but was reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions to $26,250 with $17,500 going to the winner.

That final, restricted to Wide Bay zone-based trainers only, was won by the Laurence Thomas-prepared $23 outsider Belli Ultra.

For Thomas and his wife Sue it was their \’biggest win ever\’.

\”We\’ve been racing here for 30 years and this is the first time we have had a runner in the Bundy Cup,\” Sue said at the time.

Last month, Hassall said interest in the Cup had been enormous and he was expecting a large contingent of trainers and dogs from the Brisbane region.

\”Trainers from Brisbane and Ipswich as well as Rockhampton and the Wide Bay area are coming,\” he said.

\”I\’m really looking forward to what should be an excellent Cup carnival.\”

Hassall only took over the reins as club boss last month from John Kuhn, who resigned because of business commitments.

Kuhn runs a seven-days-a-week bakery operation and, with COVID-19, work demands had increased enormously, making it impossible for him to continue in the chair.

\”John and I just did a swap – I took over as president and he replaced me on the committee,\” Hassall said.

Despite some COVID-19 restrictions, including personal distancing and temperature testing, he said he was expecting a bumper crowd on Cup day.

\”Crowd numbers have been way up recently and our Derby-Oaks day (last month) proved a great success,\” Hassall said.

\”Adding to this is the fact that we have bookmaker Gary Hunt on-course to service punters. As far as I\’m aware we\’re the only greyhound club in Queensland with a full-time on-course bookie.

\”The club has never gone better. We are going ahead in leaps and bounds. We\’re in a great position.

\”We\’re out of debt, we\’re making major improvements all the time and the grass track is in excellent condition.

\”We\’ve employed a greens keeper from the local golf club to maintain the grass surface and this has resulted in great racing in recent months.

\”I believe this will be our best Cup series ever and I wouldn\’t be surprised if the track record is given a decent shake.

\”And as well as our normal catering operation we will also have an onsite food van to make sure patrons\’ needs are met.

\”The club is also hoping to have special entertainment for the youngsters.

\”We are trying to making it a family affair but we will be guided by COVID-19 regulations.\”

Caption: Trainer Laurie Thomas and his wife Sue with their impressive Bundaberg Cup winner Belli Ultra in April this year. (Photo: AMMIE MINTER –  Uncle Rusty’s Photos)

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