ALL SMILES: Claude Offord medal winner John Stephens, Claudes Sisters Peggy and Nell and Scott Power.
ALL SMILES: Claude Offord medal winner John Stephens, Claudes Sisters Peggy and Nell and Scott Power. Contributed

Punters turn out in force for Bluff meet

A BIG day of racing was held at Bluff last Saturday when the Bluff-Blackwater Amateur Race Club hosted their rescheduled annual June Winter carnival.

A crowd of 400 was on hand to enjoy the railway towns social day of days for the year.

It was a big day in the saddle for veteran Rockhampton hoop Micheal Stephens who rode a feature double firstly in the rich $12000 QTIS 1200 metre maiden on Buster Moon ($2.50) who was saddled by former long time premier Central Western trainer and one of the good guys in racing Allan (knockout) Clark who presented Buster Moon trained to the minute to break through for a much deserved maiden win after being given a beautiful run in transit by Stephens.

Allan Clark held the title of Central Western Queensland premier trainer for many years from his Longreach Pink Panther stables but now only trains a small team of gallopers in semi retirement from his Rockhampton base.

Buster Moon will give Clark more thrills after running to the line strongly to land the prize. John Stephens also was awarded the Claude Offord medal for the leading jockey on the day. Offord a racing man's racing man was a jockey, horse owner and trainer for over 50 years.

Offords family were oncourse and were thrilled that veteran hoop John Stephens took out the medal as he had a long association and had ridden many winner's for Claude and his family.

The first feature race on the program the 1200 metre $9000 Bluff Newmarket which was taken out by the Jared Whelow trained Tawdeen $6.00 who defied a betting drift who was again given a gem of a ride in transit by the man of the hour Micheal Stephens to hold off the fast finishing second placed Glenda Bell trained Mono Lad ($4.60) who doesn't look far away for a win.

One of the quiet achievers in country racing Clint Austin the older brother of leading Central Western trainer Todd Austin made the trek east over the Drummond Range and stole the show in the main event, the $9000 Benchmark 60 1800 metre Bluff Cup with the Blackall based trainer taking home the Bluff cup after saddling up Mishani Centurian ($5.00) ridden by Stanley Watkins who sat off the hot pace and went for home 400 metres out from home and outstayed his rivals in a strong effort. Austin said he would likely head to the Emerald 100 in October.

Race caller and club stalwart Scott Power thanked the Bluff and Blackwater community for turning out and supporting the day and and the club is looking forward to a bigger and better year in 2020.

Tomorrow's meeting at Pioneer Park the Emerald Jockey Club will host their annual ladies and tradies race day.

Emerald Jockey Club President Leon Roberts said all the marquee areas are close to sold out and the club is expecting a big crowd.

Roberts said the days racing will be competitive in all five races on the program. The Local Central Highlands stables are again well represented.

Glenda Bell and Raymond Williams go head to head with Bell lining up with her stable star Fastnet Flyer and Williams with his inform galloper Shigeru Mahogany in the open handicap over 1200 metres.

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