Andrew O’Toole, Tennant & District Times
A record crowd of 600 racegoers converged on Hagan Park last Saturday for a tremendous day of racing action at the annual Two Cup Race Day held by the Tennant Turf Club.
With a number of new facilities on show – brand new tables and chairs, shade sails, bar tops, a fashions on the field runway and state-of-the-art starting stalls among them – the Tennant Turf Club team, led by President Mike Nash, left no stone unturned in their preparation for the biggest day of the year in the Barkly.
Some 500 enthusiasts paid at the gate, and a host of sponsors, staff, owners, trainers, jockeys and stablehands combined to witness a tremendous day of racing action, highlighted by the running of the $30,000 Ladbrokes & Remote Industries Australia Tennant Creek Cup, the last of the six races.
Alice Springs-based apprentices Ianish Luximon (three wins), Dakota-Lee Gillett (two) and Lek Maloney (one) were the stars of the show, riding the card between them.
Luximon took out the feature aboard the Kym Healy-trained Taipan Tommy, the favourite proving far too good for Spielberg, scoring by almost three lengths, with the remainder some 13 lengths and more farther away.
Healy, from Strathalbyn, is a great supporter of Territory racing, and his latest Cup success was his first in the Barkly to go along with his Darwin and Alice Springs Cups won with Pretty Blonde.
Luximon, a Mauritian who came to Alice Springs via Tasmania in November 2021, was on the board earlier in the day aboard Redenzo Lad (A J Couriers & Haulage Handicap) and Mi Mijo (Ronin Security Technologies Handicap). Both were trained by Red Centre horseman Will Savage.
Another Alice Springs trainer, Paul Gardner, also bagged a double courtesy of Fair Go (Barkly Plumbing Services Handicap) and Glacier Grey (Little Rippers Lifestyles Denis Staunton Memorial Cup), with Gillett the successful rider.
And Lek Maloney had a day to remember, providing trainer-jockey Dan Morgan with his first win as a trainer when Angelluccis (owned by his father, Alice Springs Turf Club Chairman Andrew Maloney) scored in the T & J Contractors Maiden Plate. It was Morgan’s seventh starter since he began training only a couple of months ago.
Luximon took out the leading rider’s prize courtesy of this three wins, while Gardner was the leading trainer on a countback from Healy, both finishing on nine points but Gardner having two winners as opposed to Healy’s one.
Nash was a delighted man following the Tennant Creek Cup.
“What a day! So much work goes into putting on the show and to have such a great crowd, a brilliant day and 38 runners (up from 30 last year) really makes if all worthwhile,” he said.
“My committee and many volunteers worked tirelessly for weeks leading up to today to make sure everything was in readiness, and it is extremely satisfying at just how good it went.
“Many hands make light work, and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help. Bring on 2024!” said Nash.
See all the pictures from the event in the issue.
This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 19 May 2023.