Very rarely does a day of racing define a series but this is exactly what happened at the Broken Hill final of the GRNSW Country Challenge on Saturday.
At a track which has seen some outstanding crowds over the last two weeks, the cold windy conditions proved the perfect scenario for a race that has sent shockwaves through the Country Challenge competition.
Before the Broken Hill leg, the John Lawson trained Future Fund was seen as an outsider to secure a spot in the end of season Showdown event at Wentworth Park on July 12. After an impressive victory at Gunnedah three weeks prior, Future Fund drew box one and saluted in a time of 30.62 over the 525 metres.
The victory shot Future Fund into the top eight on the series leaderboard and secured him a start in the Showdown but it was the second placegetter that made the biggest impact on the series so
Montana Belle came into the Broken Hill Final in second place in the series, six points shy of the leader Token Mulwee. Trainer Greg Board knew he would need to secure first or second to take the lead in the series and creep one step closer to winning the $10,000 bonus. And that is exactly what Montana Belle did. She placed three lengths behind the winner Future Fund but did enough to grab second place and secure top spot on the Country Challenge leaderboard. Our Mind Games scored its first points for the series in taking third place.
Broken Hill Secretary Sharyn Gray said the race day was sensational with lots of children in
attendance. “We had a really good crowd for both the heats and the finals weekend and as well as all the visitors there were a lot of first time locals who attended,” Ms Gray said.
“It was also great to see so many kids there playing on the jumping castle and merry-go-round that we provided for the day.”
GRNSW Club Services Manager Katrina McHattan was on hand to present the cup to the winning
Montana Belle (42 Points) now leads the GRNSW Country Challenge by one point ahead of Token Mulwee (41) with third placed Mountain of Love (28) a further 13 points adrift.
However Montana Belle’s reign at the top of the leaderboard may be short lived as Token Mulwee won its heat of the concluding Country Challenge leg in Kempsey on Saturday and now only needs to be placed sixth or better to regain the lead and secure $10,000 as the “first past the post” winner.
The exciting final event of the series will be held at Kempsey this coming Saturday 28 June followed by the highly anticipated conclusion in the inaugural $20,000 GRNSW Country Challenge Showdown to be held at Wentworth Park in Sydney on Saturday 12 July 2008.
The current leaderboard for the 2007/08 GRNSW Country Challenge is as follows:
- Montana Belle 42
- Token Mulwee 41
- Mountain of Love 28
- Kingsbrae Di 26
- Bim Bam Boom 23
- Majestic Puzzle 19
- Future Fund 18
- Varvatos 18