Cooktown punters enjoyed a seven-race card for the first time in decades, while trainers and jockeys enjoyed the increased prize money at the 149th annual Cooktown Races.
Cooktown Amateur Turf Club president Darryl Paradise said the day went really well, with great feedback from the crowd and trainers and jockeys.
“We had to put up extra marquees because we booked out so quickly in the VIP shade area,” Mr Paradise said.
“Next year will be even bigger. It’s our 150th race meet, and we’ll be putting on a seven-race program again.”
The day’s feature race, the Cooktown Bowls Club Cooktown Cup, was taken out by apprentice hoop Jenna Edwards, aboard Fred Wieland-trained Healing Game.
The gelding led convincingly throughout the 1760 m race, bringing Cairns-based racing veteran Wieland his second Cooktown Cup win.
The Cooktown RSL Memorial Club QTIS Maiden Plate was won by Ishotthedeputy, while Prophetess took out the Cook Shire Council/Poison Creek Station 1000 m.
Tolga sprinter Phantom Spirit was first across the finish by half a length in the Yarralinda Park/Lions Den Hotel Country Stampede Qualifier and Zakheera won the Cape York Weekly/Cooktown Hardware 1290 m.
Boomed was across the line in first place in the Auswaste/Musgrave Roadhouse Cooktown Bracelet, with Deluxe Legend taking out the Diatreme Resources Class 4 1400m.
Jockey Lacey Morrison was on fire, steering her charges to three firsts, three seconds and a third and placing in every race for Tolga trainer Roy Chillemi.
Mr Paradise said the extra prize money had attracted a strong field of trainers for the day.
“We had trainers from Townsville, Mackay, Tablelands, they came from far and wide,” he said.
“The races were all won by different trainers, the winning circle was spread amongst them and everyone was really happy.”
Mr Paradise said the day went off without a hitch thanks to the hard work of the turf club committee and volunteers.
Fashions on the Field wins were also spread around, with well-travelled fashionista Kimberlee Cockrem taking Lady of the Day, Cooktown local Kristina Olsen winning Golden Lady, Cairns’ Matthew Thiel defending his Best Dressed Gent title, and Cooktown Races regular Cameran Hatfield taking out Best Dressed Teen.