Hawkesbury Race Club chief executive Brian Fletcher is hopeful owners and trainers will take advantage of the Hawkesbury Gold Cup being switched to August and use it as a lead up to the Sydney Spring Carnival.
The Group 3 $150,000 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) will be run on August 22 from next season, moving forward from it’s traditional Victoria Oaks day during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November.
Fletcher believes trainers could use the Gold Cup as a run up to the rich Sydney Spring Carnival and would fit in with two other provincial cups, the Listed $150,000 Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) on September 6 and the Group 3 $1175,000 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 19.
“We felt the Hawkesbury Gold Cup was often overshadowed because it was run on Oaks Day during the Melbourne Cup Carnival,” Fletcher said.
“The new date is ideal as it gives the good horses an early spring carnival target and provides a series of three quality provincial cups run a fortnight apart.
“With the Hawkesbury Gold Cup over 1600m, there is a good progression of race distances to the Wyong Cup (2100m) and Newcastle Cup (2300m).”
Fletcher also believes the new date will attract a high quality field, boosting turnover for the race meeting which will also see a $50,000 Class 4 over 1500m and $40,000 Benchmark 75 Handicap over 1000m plus two $35,000 Benchmark Handicaps over 2000m and 1300m.
Last year’s winner Darci Be Good performed well over the Sydney Summer Carnival, finishing third to All Legal in the Group 2 $175,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on December 22 before running second to Moriarty in the Listed $100,000 Tattersalls Club Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on January 1.