By LIAM DURKIN
MOE Racing Club hosted its traditional Anzac Day meeting last week.
In what has become a good coup for the region, Moe is the only country racing club in Victoria to have a meeting on Anzac Day.
Honouring the Anzac spirit was of upmost importance on the day, and the club held a flag raising ceremony before on-track action commenced, while Moe RSL general manager Don Field recited The Ode.
Earlier in the day, the Moe RSL Dawn Service saw an approximate 800-strong congregation come to pay their respects.
A crowd of around 900 was treated to a seven-card meeting on a track rated a Soft 7.
The opening race, the Law Somerville Maiden Plate over 2082 metres, was won by Maktastic for Cranbourne-based trainers Emma Lee and David Browne.
The four-year-old gelding hit the lead with 400m to go and finished well to win by a length.
A similar margin was seen in the next race, the Smick Health and Fitness Maiden Plate (1114m) as Sarwattle got home by 1.25 lengths.
Trained at Sale by prominent trainer Reg Manning, the Moe victory gave Sarwattle its first from 12 career starts.
Spectators were given an exciting spectacle in the Young Signs Fillies and Mares Maiden Plate (1214m).
Mornington three-year-old Kashmere Star led at both the 800m and 400m but needed to withstand a challenge from Lady Vuitton to win on the inside.
Another close finish followed in the Hip Pocket LV BM58 Handicap (1214m).
Sestillia stormed home in the last 300m to sneak in ahead of Too Viennese by a neck.
The Brandt Leongatha BM58 Handicap (2439m) saw an incredibly tight finish, with only 0.2 of a length separating the top three finishers.
A photo was needed to decide who took places in the trifecta, and in the end it was Capellani that won literally by an inch for Ballarat trainer Richard Cully.
Ima Dozer ran a great race for Moe trainer Christine Sexton to come second.
The penultimate race, the Cool Aqua Springs BM58 Handicap (1114m) saw State of Class stretch to the line to win by 1.25 lengths, while Sale trainer Susie Wells ensured there was a Gippsland winner that saw out the day, securing the Ladbrokes Live Betting BM58 Handicap (1623m).
The Wells-trained Bishop Rock put in a strong performance, winning by almost two lengths.
Moe Racing Club chief executive Shane Berry said the club was always proud to hold a meeting on Anzac Day.
“It is a special day. All net profits from the day will be passed onto the Moe RSL. Both clubs work together, the RSL and racing club come together on the day to raise funds for Anzac proceeds,” he said.
“The weather was great, everyone was out having a really good day.
“The racing was spectacular. The course kicked up a little bit of young grass early in the day but then settled down and was perfect, everyone ran good times.”
There was more good news to come out of the meeting, with a snap of jockeys and officials in the mounting yard at Moe for the flag-raising ceremony awarded ‘Photo of the Week’ in the Country Racing Victoria bulletin.
Looking further ahead, Berry said all Gippsland racing clubs (Moe, Latrobe Valley, Sale, Stony Creek and Bairnsdale) had been working together to form a united Gippsland racing front to really showcase the sport and hopefully generate greater interest.
“We’ve been meeting quite a few times all the general managers of the clubs,” he said.
“We are trying to work out ways to come together instead of working separately and try to sell Gippsland racing as a whole.”
Racing will next be held at Moe on Tuesday, May 17.
The club’s next major meeting will be the Christmas in July event on Saturday, July 16.