Possible grand final impact not stopping Turf Club ahead of 'strongest Gold Cup we've had'
BY TOM BARBER | Daily Liberal 1 September 2023
It's arguably Dubbo Turf Club's biggest day of the year and general manager Sam Fitzgerald believes this could be the best Dubbo Gold Cup yet.
Fitzgerald and his team are busy preparing for the 2023 Gold Cup, the biggest annual race for the club.
Set to be held on September 10, the Gold Cup's nominations are still yet to be released to the public.
However, Fitzgerald has high hopes for this year's race.
"Having a bit of a look at nominations we have received already and the whispers that are coming in, it looks like it might be one of the strongest, if not the strongest Gold Cup we've ever had," he said.
"We are very lucky that our local hopeful Smooth Esprit won the prelude so he is exempt from the ballotting, I know Clint Lundholm has another two horses targeting the race as well.
"There has been a lot of interest from metropolitan stables as well. There have been some interest and whispers from other stables as well."
Lundholm is the only trainer to have a confirmed place in the field while powerhouse trainers Chris Waller and Edward Cummings have also reportedly nominated runners for what is also a qualifier for the Big Dance.
While a strong crowd is expected to venture out to Dubbo Turf Club, there could be some spectators who have to make the choice between the Gold Cup and another big sporting event.
Should Dubbo CYMS win their Peter McDonald Premiership preliminary final this weekend, the club will host the grand final on September 10 at Apex Oval.
If CYMS were to win, the first grade clash would likely still be going when the Gold Cup is run.
"It's always the way in a country town, there is always an event that will pull people to or from the races," Fitzgerald said.
"We want to wish Dubbo CYMS the best of luck in all four grades, we really hope they can make the grand finals and win them as well.
"We are still expecting a very big crowd regardless, it should be a good day on both accounts."
With more than a week until race day, Fitzgerald confirmed the track itself is coming up nicely.
"Things are progressing really well, we've got a couple of projects deadlined to finish before Gold Cup Day," he said.
"We are really rapt with how the track is looking despite it being a drier than normal weather period at the moment.
"We've got the track as healthy as we can get it, we are expecting a really high-performing track for the day."
While the Gold Cup is the feature race of the day, the Vincent Gordon Flying Handicap will also be held earlier in the meeting.