And they’re off in tropical Queensland! Racegoers lap up the action at the Townsville Cup with eye-catching fashions on the field
- Horse racing fans turned out for the top event of north QLD’s calendar on Friday
- Gates opened on the The Towsville Cup from 10.30am amid gorgeous weather
- Shiranda won the main race and was awarded nearly $50,000 in prize money
- Punters and those keen to dress up flocked to track after months of lockdowns
Hundreds of keen racegoers have lapped up the sunshine and fashions at the premier event of north Queensland’s horse racing calendar.
The Townsville Cup was held on Friday morning with more than 1,500 guests turning up to the sold out event in picturesque weather.
While coronavirus restrictions required the Townsville Turf Club to close their sports bar and dining area during the race day, that didn’t stop the crowds of punters enjoying the outdoor atmosphere.
Hundreds of keen racegoers have lapped up the sunshine and fashions at the premier event of north Queensland’s horseracing calendar (pictured; two guests enjoy a glass of bubbly at the Townsville cup)
The Townsville Cup was held from 10:30am on Friday morning with more than 1,500 guests turning up to the sold out event in picturesque weather
The first race of ten held throughout the day kicked off just after 11.30am with the main event, a 2,000 metre gallop, being held just before 4.30pm.
The event attracted horse owners, trainers, jockeys, and fashion trendsetters from throughout Queensland and New South Wales.
The favourite going into the race was Unbiased from Tamworth, New South Wales, who finished in sixth place.
Local horse Shiranda from Mackay finished in first place, and was awarded the $48,800 prizemoney. after fighting off Tunero in a photo finish.
The win was trainer John Mazelmann’s fourth Townsville Cup and young apprentice jockey Elyce Smith was behind the reigns.
Smith is only the third female to win the Townsville Cup in the event’s history.
Kuttamurra rounded out the top three places.
While coronavirus restrictions required the Townsville Turf Club to close their bar and dining area during the race day, that didn’t stop the crowds enjoying the outdoor atmosphere
Emily Birch (pictured) modelling her race day dress at the Townsville Cup on Friday
Katie Sellers and friend enjoy the socially distanced atmosphere at the 2020 event
The Townsville Cup is the premiere racing event on the north Queensland calendar
The day was marred, however, by a serious injury to fellow jockey and trainer Peter Cullen who was treated by paramedics.
After the race, the veteran’s horse Buster Block, which finished fifth, reared up and struck him in the head.
He was then thrown from the horse and was treated by ambulance officers for 30 minutes on the track suffering a suspected collarbone injury.
He was later transported to Townsville University Hospital for further treatment.
The Townsville Turf Club warned racegoers the event would be a little different in 2020 with a number of protocols in place to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures.
The event went ahead successfully with guests following safety procedures
Attendees were required to stay in designated areas, each with food, drink and betting facilities, and not move between different parts of the track.
Dancing was also not permitted with guests also being asked to remain seated while eating and drinking.
The Fashions on the Field event was allowed to go ahead with Classic Lady, Contemporary Lady, Gentlemen and Couple categories.
Under Queensland government guidelines events of 500 to 10,000 people can be held in the Sunshine State as long as the event organisers have a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by health authorities.
Fashions off the track were as much of a drawcard as the race with many enjoying the chance to dress up after months of COVID-19 lockdowns
While the indoor bar was closed because of covid safety measures there were outdoor bar options