FIGHT TO THE FINISH: Gallopers head home in the Emerald 100.
FIGHT TO THE FINISH: Gallopers head home in the Emerald 100. Terry Hill

Intense day at the races

EMERALD 100 races scraped through just in time before the skies opened on the Central Highlands last weekend.

With thunder and lightning starting to set in on Pioneer Park on Saturday afternoon, the rain held off just long enough to finish the final races.

It was a relief for Emerald Jockey Club president Leon Roberts, with the Emerald 100 not only being the feature race, but a qualifying race for the Country Cups Challenge.

In a show stopping race, John Mazelmann's The Greatest came out on top, heading straight through to the Doomben races in Brisbane on December 1 for a chance at the $70,000 prize.

Mr Roberts faced some tense moments throughout the biggest day on Emerald's social calendar.

"The storm was brewing and there was a delay in the races because the jockeys weren't prepared to ride when there was lightning,” he said.

The weather cleared just long enough for the jockeys to fly through the final two races.

Despite the temperamental weather, Mr Roberts said it was one of their best events so far, with more than 3000 in attendance.

"I think the day went pretty well, we were lucky to get through with the weather,” he said.

"It's fantastic to see so many people dressed up and enjoying themselves.

"I think that's what Emerald 100 day is all about. It's a day on the social calendar, a chance for everyone to get dressed up and go out and get their photos taken.

"It's a huge boost to the Emerald economy and it's such a great day. It made me feel proud actually.”

The Emerald Race Club hosted what Mr Roberts said to be a "good natured, happy, well behaved crowd, enjoying themselves”.

"I think it was one of the best we've had, for people having a good time,” he said.

For more information on the running of the races, see Richard Turnbull's column on page 48.

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