All set for another great Moe Cup

Champion: Fengarada wins last year's Moe Cup. File photograph




IT has to be a pretty big event to run second to the Boxing Day Test as the best day of the year.

Just one sleep remains until the gates of Moe Racing Club are flung open to welcome patrons to this year’s Moe Cup.

The first stop on the Gippsland country cup calendar, it is all systems go for the running of the Moe Cup this Friday.

General excitement is expected to permeate through the town, with businesses taking part in the traditional Moe Cup Day Sales.

Following the success of last year’s shift from the traditional Thursday timeslot, fingers and toes will be crossed for great viewing weather-wise.

At the moment, the forecast is for a maximum of 25 degrees.

But even if the weather does take a turn for the worst, don’t expect the meeting to be abandoned.

Not even flooding across the entire state could stop the Moe Cup last year.

Last year’s cup went ahead without any major disruptions, once again showcasing Moe Racing Club’s premier StrathAyr track to a wider audience.

The track has virtually paid for itself since being installed in 2016. It’s sand-based design allows continuous drainage to occur and prevent surface water laying on the track.

Trainers will be vying for a share of the $130,000 prize pool on offer in this year’s cup, with the winner pocketing $71,500.

In keeping with the communal nature at Moe, the winning amount has been decreased, with those finishing sixth to 10th all set to take home $2600, up significantly from the $1200 last year.

At time of going to press, fields had been released for the main event.

Last year’s winner Fengarada has nominated, and could yet come and defend his crown.

The six-year-old has not raced since last year’s Moe Cup win, and interest will abound to see if trainer Andrea Leek has been plotting anything over the last few months.

Local trainers have also nominated. Moe’s own Allison Bennett will be flying the flag with Dahwilly and Not A Problem in the field, while Sale’s Damien Walkley has nominated nine-year-old gelding Schweinsteiger.

Not A Problem looks to be in encouraging form, finishing second and fifth in its last two races on Soft 5’s, albeit across much shorter distances. Dahwilly also came back well after being freshened recently, running second of 10 horses in Geelong on a Soft 5 across 1760 metres.

But how about these names their up against?

Gai Waterhouse has nominated two horses – Supagirl and Youth Spirit, as has Peter Moody with Fame and Hennessy Lad.

After making the transition from AFL coach to horse trainer, North Melbourne premiership maestro Denis Pagan might add another cup to the collection if Georgie Get Mad can prevail.

A Moe Cup next to the only gold AFL premiership cup in history would surely make a complete set. (The AFL commissioned a gold premiership cup in 1996 as part of centenary celebrations).

Away from the track, there will be the usual goings-on in the half hour intervals between races.

Festivities will be taking place in marquees, which were nearly all sold out as of Monday, to go along with the unfurling of picnic rugs on the lawn, the hustle and bustle of the betting ring, as well as the click-clack of horse shoes trotting around the mounting yard.

Fashions on the field is again set to be as hotly contested as the races themselves, with colour and creativity to showcase. Those with dyed hair will surely hold some advantage in the best-dressed stakes.

Remember – dressing well is good manners.

So be sure to dress to impress this Friday at the Moe Cup.


WE can say Pakenham is in Gippsland for this occasion.

Pakenham trainer Gemma Rielly has the honour of being this year’s Moe Cup Ambassador.

Rielly will be coming to Moe with a number of hats on, not only as a special guest, but also as a trainer and broadcaster.

The former jockey has Claidheamh Mor nominated for the cup, and is expecting a strong showing if the five-year-old gelding takes the field.

“We took my good staying horse Claidheamh Mor to Moe Cup Day last year and ran second in a benchmark 64, he’s furnished since then, he’s come on and really exciting to get him to the Moe Cup as well,” Rielly said.

“Our horse is a proper wet tracker, so if we were to get soft to heavy ranges, we’d be happy.”

Rielly was at Sale Turf Club last week, and had quite the meeting, winning a race while also working as a broadcaster with at the same time.

Entering the mounting yard after Labhuku won postrace, one jockey joked about a “conflict of interest”, while Rielly herself faced the bizarre situation of interviewing winning jockey Carleen Hefel about her own horse. Back to Moe, and Rielly said she was thrilled to be this year’s cup ambassador.

“Very exciting, I’ve covered a lot of meetings for Moe over the past 18 months doing, it’s only 45 minutes down the road from where I train,” she said.

“Everyone come down, there is nothing like attending a country cup, there is always something for everyone and it’s a really fun day.”


EVEN with their biggest meeting for the year only one day away, Moe Racing Club already has an eye to the future.

Those attending Moe Cup Day on Friday may notice extensive works underway in the race day building.

The building is currently undergoing an extensive upgrade, bringing it up to be fit-for-purpose for modern racing.

The entire upstairs section has been gutted, while the existing jockey’s changerooms are also receiving an overhaul.

In the interim, functions that might ordinarily take place upstairs can be relocated to either the Turfside Bistro or the Hillside Pavilion.

The downstairs members lounge (Turfside Function Centre), which forms part of the building being renovated, is still in use.

Moe Racing Club is hoping works will be completed in time for the ANZAC Day meeting next year.


“ALL preparations are here.

We’re confident the weather will be good, and we’ve got an indication there will be some good ones (horses) coming.

We hope the fields will be good because, last year of course we had the floods and the main reason we had limited fields is because trainers couldn’t get the horses here, so we hope that changes this year.

The number of race meetings we had in the last year on a Heavy 10 was unbelievable, and the only thing that would really affect stopping racing is visibility, because the track can handle an enormous amount of rain, it’s proven.

When you look at it, this year we only had 14 scheduled meetings, but we had an additional five transferred to us this year because we’re one of the main ones that can handle the weather which holds us well in terms of no matter how the weather goes on cup day.

While some marquees are fully booked, there are still plenty of tickets available for those wishing to attend.

Also with general admission on the day there will be plenty of undercover available, and a range of food vans on site that will provide plenty of choice.

It’s a day for the whole town, come along and enjoy the day at Moe.”

Mike Vanderfeen
Moe Racing Club Chairman

Eyes on the prize: This year’s Moe Cup. Photograph: Liam Durkin

Leaders: Moe Racing Club Chairman Mike Vanderfeen and acting chief executive Cassandra Rendell with the Moe Cup. Photograph: Liam Durkin

Sit back and relax: The lawn looks a good spot to set up for the Moe Cup. File photograph

High stakes: Fashions on the field is expected to be hotly contested. File photograph