Roebourne toasts 150th Cup day

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Clarke leads the pack on the final stretch of race one.
Camera IconClarke leads the pack on the final stretch of race one. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

With a packed crowd of locals dressed in their racing finest, buzzing atmosphere and horses flying down a red-dirt track, the 150th Roebourne Cup showed the lure of the Nor-West Jockey Club’s premiere event is still going strong a century and a half after it all began.

The historic race, held on Saturday, drew about 2000 people to pack the State’s second-oldest jockey club for a great day out and a punt on seven races, followed by a game of two-up, in keeping with a tradition followed since 1867.

The milestone 150th Roebourne Cup was won by favourite Boys Getaround Him in a thrilling come-from-behind last stretch, with Scarfone Star, Victoria Peak and Beg to Differ coming in second, third and fourth respectively.

Jockey Chris Nicoll rides Boys Getaround Him over the finish line to win the 150th Roebourne Cup.
Camera IconJockey Chris Nicoll rides Boys Getaround Him over the finish line to win the 150th Roebourne Cup. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

First race, the Onyx Maiden, was won by Clarke, Tempestuous Strike took the Thrifty Handicap and Fringe claimed top honours in the Double R Handicap.

Meanwhile, Danaura came first in the XXXX Gold Settlers Sprint, Bolshoi Bandit won the MCS Handicap and Our Brucie Bonus was the winner in race six, the Supagas Handicap. Presentations were made after the final race and included the NWJC committee presenting 69-year-old jockey Danny Miller with a framed picture as thanks for his many years of service.

Chris Nicoll was announced the club’s jockey of the year, Jacquiline Henderson won trainer of the year and the horse of the year award went to Bernadini Genie.

Horses sprint out of the starting blocks for race five, the MCS Handicap.
Camera IconHorses sprint out of the starting blocks for race five, the MCS Handicap. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

NWJC president Kevin Kininmonth said it had been a “great day’s racing” for the Roebourne Cupt, which he said showed “the Pilbara at its best”.

He said as the 150th running of the Cup it was a particularly significant occasion.

“I think it’s a great achievement for the Nor-West Jockey Club and for the Roebourne races,” he said.

“It’s become a bit of a legacy, I think, and it’s iconic as well.

“Hopefully it’s around for many more years to come at Roebourne so people can come and enjoy it.”

Jill Felton and Sam Pollock at the Nor West Jockey Club for the 150th Roebourne Cup.
Camera IconJill Felton and Sam Pollock at the Nor West Jockey Club for the 150th Roebourne Cup. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Kininmonth thanked the NWJC committee for their work organising the year’s race meets.

The 150th Cup day also drew a number of NWJC life members back and gave them the opportunity to reflect on what had helped the club to endure.

Life member of the Country Racing Association of WA and NWJC, Darryl Rooney, said he visited especially for the anniversary.

He said there had been a lot of changes to the club’s facilities over the years but the same basic race day formula had always prevailed.

“It’s had its ups and downs, but I hope it’s here to stay,” he said.

“As you can see today the crowds come here, they enjoy themselves, and I think that’s what it’s all about.”

NWJC life member David Morgan said Roebourne Cup day still had “charisma” as a classic North West race meet and it was special to be in attendance on the 150th anniversary.

“It’s pretty significant in racing terms for the club, because there’s a lot of country clubs that have closed down from lack of funding or lack of interest,” he said.

“For the clubs that have kept going over the years, there’s been a lot of significant effort from their people to keep the club going.”

“Roebourne’s obviously one of those clubs that’s been very fortunate to have good committees and good people involved, and kept it going.”

NWJC life member Jim Brenton said the club was a part of life in Roebourne and Karratha.

“It’ll never die. It’s just part and parcel of living here,” he said.

“The best part about it is the people you meet, the trainers who come — everyone gets to be sort of family.”

After the races, band Impact Matter got the crowd dancing to see out the night.

The anniversary race meet also featured an inaugural exhibition from Roebourne Art Group in the members’ area, as a showcase of local artists’ work which the NWJC committee plans to run annually.

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