History repeats in Traralgon

It's ours: Briagolong's Mark Landy is overjoyed after winning the Traralgon Cup. photographs liam durkin



YOU would want to believe in destiny after watching this year’s Traralgon Cup.
Nearly a century after the 1930 Traralgon Cup trophy was brought back home, history repeated itself, with a local winner again saluting.
The 1930 trophy was recently discovered, after spending the best part of 92 years in the wilderness.
Thought to be lost forever, arrangements were made to bring the trophy, (which is actually a cutlery set) back home.
After confirming the trophy was indeed the Traralgon Cup from 1930, Latrobe Valley Racing Club chairperson Frank Bezzina could see a great story developing.
In the lead-up to this year’s running, he said “hopefully a local will win it this year as well”.
Bezzina got his wish, while those who came to the Latrobe Valley Racing Club on Sunday couldn’t have wished for much better.
Close to perfect weather greeted race goers for the nine-card meeting.
Run on a Soft 6, the marquee race netted Starspangled Baby the Traralgon Cup, for local trainer Craig Blackshaw.
Blackshaw had taken over training the five-year-old mare from Bundalaguah-based Sharyn Trolove just over three weeks ago.
They do say timing is everything.
In an exciting finish, Starspangledbaby got home from fellow local Not A Problem by just under half-a-length.
Not A Problem, trained at Moe by Allison Bennett, stayed the distance for most of the 1900-metre race, but had to contend with running second on the day.
The winner put in a strong performance, settling in second at the 800m and 400m mark, before the dash to the finish.
Starspangledbaby past the post on the outside, with Michael Poy on board.
Poy signed his googles, giving them to young Charlie Gieschen of Maffra as a souvenir.
The youngster was one of many enthusiastic connections who were beside themselves in the aftermath.
Collecting the owners trophy, Mark Landy exclaimed it was going “straight to the Briag Pub!”
For Blackshaw, it was his first Traralgon Cup, and 38th career win.
“She came out very good, the target was Traralgon Cup, we were asked to do a job and we’ve done it,” he said.
“She’s a nice mare, you’re getting a last-start winner, she won on Sale Cup Day … she is a quality mare.”
As for the immediate future, Blackshaw said he hadn’t considered where the now Traralgon Cup winner will next race.
Across the other eight races, Sale-based trainer Heather Stephens had a winner in Race 6, with A Penny Spent getting the job done in a BM64 (1430m).
The five-year-old mare edged out the Peter Moody trained Victory Bay, to win by a nose.
A Penny Spent has been in very good form of late, winning three of its last four races and placing in all four.
Trolove rounded out the meeting with a win in Race 9.
High Risk was too good for its competitors, winning a BM64 (1100m) by a length.
The six-year-old mare came home strong, getting to the lead from eighth at the 800m mark.
It was a welcome return for High Risk, who may have turned the corner after running third in Bairnsdale on a Heavy 8 on November 14.
The track at Glenview Park had a Soft 6 rating from start to finish for Traralgon Cup Day.
There was no doubting the excitement on Traralgon Cup Day, so much so this writer forgot he left his suit jacket behind, (drove all the way to Morwell before realising).

“Fantastic, good crowd, everyone’s having fun, just great.
“Great racing, some really good horses here from all over the place so pretty pleased with that, the fields are pretty full.
“History repeats itself, 92 years later with a local winner (for the Traralgon Cup).
“Credit to all the committee, all the local Gippsland clubs that help out with different equipment, just a great team effort.
“Onwards and upwards for Latrobe Valley Racing Club!”
Frank Bezzina
Latrobe Valley Racing Club Chairperson

with Liam Durkin 

Community effort
TRARALGON Cup seemed to be as much about the people as it did the racing.
As a volunteer organisation, Latrobe Valley Racing Club made sure locals were looked after.
Morwell Bowls Club catered for patrons upstairs, while out in the open, Churchill Lions were hard at work manning the barbecues.
Most race names also carried a local connection.
There was the Latrobe City Council Maiden, the Morwell Bowling Club Maiden, TRFM Maiden, Traralgon Rodeo BM64, and the second-most prestigious race after the Traralgon Cup – the Latrobe Valley Express BM64.

High stakes affair
FASHIONS on the field was as hotly contested as the races themselves.
Cranbourne South’s Karlie Owen was judged best dressed lady yet again.
Ms Owen’s very colourful display wowed the judges, even more so when they discovered her dress was made out of a kids doona.
Traralgon’s Roz Noon was runner-up, while Morwell’s Anthony Di Donato won the men’s section.
In a nice touch, Mr Di Donato’s outfit featured a brooch from his mother.

NEWLY-elected Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron, fronted up to the Traralgon Cup a day after the state election.
Understandably looking exhausted, Cameron said he’d had four hours sleep the night before.
The Nationals candidate faced a long wait into the night before having the confidence to virtually make his victory official.
Cameron is set to become the third ex-Traralgon Football-Netball Club player to serve as the local member, following Peter Hall and retiring member Russell Northe.
All three are in the Maroons’ Team of the Century.

What’s next?
THOSE attending Traralgon Cup on Sunday would have noticed a number of refurbishments.
It has been a busy 12 months for the club, with upgrades completed to enhance the race-going experience.
Moving forward, the club hopes to construct a viewing mound all the way along the straight.
The track itself has stood up under much adversity in recent times, most notably on Derby Day, where a full meeting was held despite a huge downpour the night before.
With the appetite for racing clearly evident, some will be hoping Glenview Park can add to the two meetings it holds annually.

Latrobe Valley Racing Club
Traralgon Cup
Sunday, November 27
Race 1: Honouring
Race 2: Cuban Sunset
Race 3: Twelve Balls
Race 4: Princess Tina
Race 5: Gotta Beat
Race 6: A Penny Spent*
Race 7: Flight To The Moon
Race 8: Starspangled Baby* (Traralgon Cup)
Race 9: High Risk*
*local winner

All in: Winning connections of Starspangledbaby in the mounting yard after the five-year-old mare’s Traralgon Cup victory.

Congratulations: Latrobe Valley Racing Club chairperson Frank Bezzina with Traralgon Cup winning trainer Craig Blackshaw post-race.

Victory: Starspangled Baby wins the 2022 Traralgon Cup.

Silverware: The Traralgon Cup trophies.

Great ride: Jockey Michael Poy is greeted by trainer Craig Blackshaw moments after winning the Traralgon Cup.

Anticipation: Crowds gather on the deck to watch the Traralgon Cup.

Competitive: Strong fields featured on Traralgon Cup Day.

Go Traralgon: Latrobe Valley Racing Club members, led by chairperson Frank Bezzina, (in suit), show their excitement on cup day.

Winners: Karlie Owen from Cranbourne South, and Mandy Manning from Patterson Lakes, won fashions on the field and best millinery respectively at the Traralgon Cup. Pictured with the winners is organiser Danielle Daniel.

Delectable: Guests were treated to specially made treats for the occasion.