6 August 2023

Call to help track down cup conquerors as race club anniversary plans gather pace

| Gail Eastaway
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horse race

The Cooma Monaro Race Club is readying itself for the 30th anniversary of the Sundowners Cup and looking for updates on former winners, such as Impulse, who won in 2015. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

The Snowy Monaro region’s premier horse-racing event, the Cooma Cup and Sundowners Cup meeting at Cooma, has a special theme for 2023.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Sundowners Cup, a 1400-metre maiden handicap.

To celebrate this milestone, the Cooma Monaro Race Inc has nominated a local community organisation as a beneficiary this year.

The Monaro Committee for Cancer Research (McCR), established almost 30 years ago, has helped hundreds of cancer patients and their families and the race club is keen to help.

COVID restrictions in recent years have curtailed the McCR’s fundraising efforts, so the race club will assist by making a substantial donation at the race meeting on 2 December.

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To help raise extra funds for the McCR, Cooma Race Club has organised a raffle with a substantial prize offered by the Australian Turf Club, for attendance at a Royal Randwick meeting.

The club will also conduct a Calcutta on the Sundowners Cup race this year, with tickets available for sale before the meeting.

The Calcutta will be drawn just before the race and part of the proceeds will also go to the McCR.

As usual, the Fashions on the Field will be a feature of race day, with coordinators Clare Aitchison and Lauren McMahon already planning the categories and prizes.

The 2023 race meeting will see a return to ticket sales at the gate on the day. There will be no electronic ticket sales, but payment will be possible using either cash or card.

The club will also have ATMs available on the day.

It is expected there will be a full bookmakers’ ring again this year, with one of the regular attendees also celebrating a milestone at Cooma Races this year.

The club is keen to create a historical display of past Sundowner Cup winners, which it hopes to make as complete as possible.

To this end, the secretary-manager is researching what happened to the previous 28 winners and trainers (the race was washed out in 2014).

Anyone with information about the winners is urged to contact the club via email at [email protected] or to phone the secretary-manager on 0408 930 180.

The previous winners and trainers are:

1993: Bluendi, Barbara Joseph

1994: Bentu, trainer unknown as yet

1995: Roma’s Delight, GM Price and B Burke

1996: Our Final Notice, Peter Staunton

1997: Life Cycle, Miffy Rae

1998: My Money, Stuart Sturgeon

1999: Taluk, Miffy Rae

2000: Oubladee, Barbara Joseph

2001: Shy Prince, Chris Strickland

2002: Little Connie, Darren Lucas

2003: Yackety, Stephen Hill

2004: Bliss Miss, Barbara Joseph

2005: Song of Junee, Bernie Fraser

2006: Brado’s Girl, Libby Snowden

2007: Get Global, John Nisbet

2008: Miss Canberra, Mick Miladinovic

2009: Big Noting, Miss KM Bray

2010: Four My Girls, John Nisbett

2011: Ain’t Half Hot, Neville Layt

2012: Mugga Lane, Aaron Clarke

2013: Balinese Boy, Shane Kember

2014: Washed out

2015: Impulse, Grant Bobbin

2016: Ay Oh Whey Oh, Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones

2017: Orsippus, Kevin Byrne

2018: Save A Match, Trevor McIlrick

2019: Mahjong Rose, Guntiss Lukss

2020: Royal Popcorn, Clare Mansell

2021: Wegee Lou, Geoff Crothers

2022: Eight Willows, John Rolfe.

The McCR was formed at the instigation of Jackie Sellars (Rose), whose young mother, Helen, died in 1996 after a five-year battle with cancer. Inspired by her mother’s courage and spirit, Jackie was determined to ”do something” to continue the fight against cancer.

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The committee is a non-profit organisation, run by Monaro volunteers. The original aim was to hold a major fundraiser in the Monaro district every three to four years. Funds from the functions have been distributed in two main directions – research and support for local cancer care facilities.

Research funds have been sent to the Department of Cancer Medicine, the Medical Oncology Research Unit at Canberra Hospital and the Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation.

The majority of the money raised has been used to support nurses caring for patients in the Monaro region. In addition, equipment has been purchased for Delegate, Bombala and Cooma Health Services.

In 2012, the McCr founded the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), which benefits families facing a cancer diagnosis. FAS offers help with household bills, fuel and medical expenses.

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