WINNERS: Raymond Williams, Tracey Leake and horse Hayyler's Element.
WINNERS: Raymond Williams, Tracey Leake and horse Hayyler's Element. Richard Turnbull

Talent to take to track

THE final field for tomorrow's Emerald Cup was confirmed on Thursday morning, with a small but even field of runners set to face the starter for the $8450 prize pool and the prestigious Emerald Cup.

From a punting perspective each runner engaged has some claims to take out the cup.

Rockhampton trainer Fred Smith looks to have the stand out of the field with dominant last start Yeppoon Cup winner King Max looking well placed to take out the Emerald Cup.

Western raider Mark Oates lines up with his in-form galloper Our Beatnik, who is coming off a solid win in the feature Barcaldine Labor Day Tree of Knowledge Cup. The Longreach galloper looks to have solid each-way claims and gets in nicely under the race conditions and looks the main danger to King Max.

Emerald Jockey Club's new look "Lunch on the Lawn'' marquee is at full capacity with tickets being sold out.

Club president Leon Roberts and his team have worked hard to give tomorrow's cup meeting a fresh new look. It is sure to be a day to be remembered under CQ's glorious autumn sun at Pioneer Park.

Track curator Noel Coyne has the track picture perfect and the Pioneer Park surface will be a good four track rating, with Noel putting plenty of work into the track in readiness for the big day of racing.

The five-race program will carry $47,000 in prize money and has attracted a good cross-section of trainers from neighbouring areas of country Queensland and Rockhampton.

Oakley Picnic meeting

THE queen of picnic racing, Tracey Leake, and her stable jockey Raymond Williams combined for four winners at last weekend's Oakley Picnic meeting, which included Leake's stable star Top Royal - the Winx of the west - who took out the prestigious sprint double, The Bangle on Friday and The Presidents Gift on Saturday.

Leake is a third generation trainer on the iconic autumn Queensland country picnic racing circuit. Her family colours of blue and gold have been raced for over eight decades consecutively.

In addition to Top Royal's wins Raymond Williams also rode another two individual winners for Leake. He was aboard Tash's Will, who took the restricted John Atherton Memorial over 1000m on Friday. He then backed it up on Hayyler's Element in the Keith Swan Memorial over 1200m on Saturday with Williams only narrowly missing out to David Owens on taking out The Whip award, the highly sought-after prize for the most successful jockey over the 16-event, two-day program.

The meeting attracted a total of 65 horses and eight jockeys for the two days of racing, and more than 400 people flocked through the gates to the outback spectacular south of Prairie.

TAB opportunities

RACING Queensland announced last week it would provide TAB opportunities to seven regional thoroughbred clubs, including Emerald.

The non-TAB meetings to run as TAB meetings throughout 2019-20 will include a midweek Tuesday, March 10 meeting at Emerald next year in a prime Sky 1 time slot.

Other regional clubs to pick up TAB meetings are Yeppoon, Mount Isa, Warwick, Birdsville, Longreach, Dalby, Innisfail and Barcaldine.

"By providing non-TAB clubs with TAB opportunities Racing Queensland will be able to deliver increased prize money for country participants and overall larger wagering returns back to the industry and broadcast regional clubs to national and international TV audiences,” RQ deputy chairwoman Sharon Dawson said.

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