Pike and people were the winners

William Pike and vibrant young crowd made this year’s Kalgoorlie Cup 25 September 2017

HEADY DAYS: KALGOORLIE RACECOURSE IN ITS HALCYON YEARS

THERE WERE some positives to be drawn from the annual Kalgoorlie Race Round which culminated in last Sunday’s Kalgoorlie Cup.

The first is societal: The image of well-dressed young men and women having a great time at a historic venue and event was pleasing to watch.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club put on a good show and I hope they did well financially out of what appeared to be a good crowd (although nothing like those of past decades). The food vans provided quality and varied fare for the racegoers and the weather (largely) smiled on the course after what locals told me had been terrible days where the gold town was buffeted by wind.

The second was the great keep getting greater. In this case, William Pike.

In three Round race meetings, Pike took 15 rides and rode eight winners, including the Hannans on Disposition and the Kalgoorlie Cup on Shinto Mani.

It was shades of George Moore, dominating a carnival like no other. Moore rode 15 winners at the Sydney’s AJC Easter carnival in April 1969, including five winners in a day at one of the four meetings of the carnival.

PROLIFIC WINNER: GEORGE MOORE DOMINATED SYDNEY CARNIVALS

Pike is a hard-working jockey who doesn’t rest on his laurels. Three weeks back he went to South Australia and won the Balaklava Cup and before the Round took mounts at Kalgoorlie racecourse at a preparatory meeting to apparently get a renewed feel for the old course before the main events. Preparation counts.

But back to those young people. Here lies the future of racing, if not for betting. Having not been to a Kalgoorlie Round for more than a decade, I was expecting to see the same faces only 13 years older. What a pleasant surprise to see these faces outnumbered by fresh young adults who had made an effort to dress smartly and pay the Kalgoorlie Cup the respect it is due.

After the meeting they filed out of the course in orderly fashion, many worse the wear for drink (but not drunk) and maintained stately order in a long queue awaiting the city’s cabs. I hope that doesn’t sound patronising but it was impressive. 

Racing clubs maintaining their status is in such hands. “Cup” days have been social for a while now and a bookie’s dreams of mammoth on-course betting from professionals on such days is just that – a dream. 

There was some humour on the way home – the bloke at the Denver City Hotel in Coolgardie who didn’t know the Kalgoorlie Cup was on that day and the young fella at the Merredin servo who told us he didn’t go to the cup because Ol’Mate Daryl wasn’t going to be there.

Further inquiries revealed he meant Daryl Braithwaite would not be in attendance to sing The Horses.

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