A BUMPER crowd of nearly 3000 was on hand at the Tuncurry Racecourse to witness the running of the Tuncurry Bowling Club Oyster Cup.
The Oyster Cup was the third race on the card, and it provided a thrilling finish, courtesy of Scone gelding Don't Move. The gelding spotted the leader at least a dozen lengths 600 metres out but got to the outside and wound up hard under the urgings of apprentice Meg Hoey to nail Ransom Moment on the line. The Rundown, first up after an 11 month spell, loomed to win 300 metres out, but just lacked race fitness late and ran third.
The meeting kicked off with a maiden plate over 1000m and Taree got the early bragging rights thanks to trainer Bart Dening and leading Mid North Coast jockey Peter Graham, who steered Jenkaval to an all-the-way victory. The four-year-old mare set a fast pace in front and never looked like getting beaten, despite being wayward in the straight, winning by just over a length. Honey Hughes and Appraisal filled the minor placings while Positive Moments wound up strongly late for fourth.
The second event went to Newcastle, courtesy of Steve Hodge and Alex Stokes. They combined to win with $3.70 favourite Winarvi, which jumped brilliantly and got over from her wide barrier quite comfortably, taking care of early leader Heza Clanger at the top of the straight and putting the race beyond doubt. Bettabet Red sat near last and was forced very wide on the home turn yet ran on quite strongly late for second while Bolwarra Ben was held up by the tiring Heza Clanger and eventually gained a clear run for third.
The fourth race had drama before the gates even opened, when Revolutionize and Lumed Up were both late scratchings at the barriers. The delay made no difference to Valiant Vision and Codie McPherson, which led every step of the 2100 metre journey, proving too strong for Stay In Step, who was ridden out of her comfort zone due to the small field while Trust Me Bill sat off the pace and plodded home to round out the placings.
The drama didn't end there, with the last race seeing local mare Lady Vuvuzela missing by the start by six lengths and losing all chance. Then it was a case of Twentybucks, Pearl Fish and Oh Ay Bee putting on a cracking for a tempo in front. This suited Darcy's Delight perfectly which got the dream rails run 250 metres from home, and punched out by Samantha Clenton, the veteran of 81 starts recorded her ninth win, holding off a gallant Oh Ay Bee and Twentybucks.