Home | Virtual FormGuide | Virtual Tipping Team | Cyberhorse Racing Clubs | Virtual Saleyard
blb.gif (108 bytes) trx.gif (807 bytes) brb.gif (108 bytes)
vineh.gif (4503 bytes)
01/02/02 Penong - Where the Tailenders Get Lost in Dust
While Adelaide basks in the entertainment and excitement of Tokyo City Cup day at Cheltenham Park, a smaller but just as jovial group of racegoers will be strutting their stuff at the annual Penong Cup Day in South Australia.

Penong. That's right with an "o", we are not talking Penang. Penong isn't known by many but is passed through by thousands every day.

While surfers know the area well thanks to the nearby famed Cactus Beach, any person driving across the Nullarbor is sure to have passed the Penong racecourse.

There's no green track. There's no spiralling grandstand. Remember this isn't Royal Randwick it's rural Penong.

The town, which has as many residents as most metro meetings have runners, only has one meeting per year. Each February the town's size swells with race fans from all around Eyre Peninsula and the West Coast flocking to the track.

Anyone who is a regular visitor to the annual Penong races would have been thinking the recent industrial action by groundworkers at Caulfield during a day of 37 degrees was uncalled for.

It was at Penong back in 1996 that the five race card went ahead despite the temperature hitting 50 degrees. One thing was for sure that day - the watermelon was the first thing to sell out from the canteen.

Penong is well known for "windmill flat", an area just to the east of the town which "houses" about 70 windmalls all within a stones throw from each other.

As you drive through Penong and head past perhaps the only area of green in the area - the football oval for the Western United Tigers - you are warned of the oncoming dangers which may obstruct the traffic heading to the treeless plain.

Not one sign warning of a kangaroo - but four of them! This is without taking into account that famous fictional characted the Nullarbor nymph. Aside from the kangaroos the signs warn of camels, emus and wombats in the upcoming 250 kilometres.

Another five kilometres west and on the right hand side of the road is the famed Penong Racecourse. The scene of my first winner as an owner, is South Australia's most western racehorse and indeed the furtherest from the state capital.

Come 1.30pm tomorrow afternoon and a field of six, the equal biggest for the afternoon, will be led onto the track for the Riddles Transport/Caltex Truck Stop Class D Handicap over 1000 metres.

Four of the six runners in the first of five races come from nearby Ceduna. All three of that town's trainers - Rob Wilkins, Herbie Oats and Bushy Trenowden - have runners. Along with Poochera's Malcolm Hebberman and Curramulka's Ron Daniel they have the entire field.

The following two races have just four runners, while the $3,200 Penong Hotel/West End Penong Cup over a mile has six runners including the George Dawson trained Follow the Stars.

Penong is a track which gives every runner a chance. Aside from the outer track Victoria Park it has the longest home straight in South Australia - a somewhat torturing home run of 550 metres gives even the tailenders as much of a chance of success at the finishing post.

Then of course there are the tailenders that tend to get lost in the dust. Penong is well known for its dust and due to a lack of moisture in the town in recent times the water truck is bound to be at work early on raceday.

And if anyone is desperate for some tips perhaps the five winners will be (in race order) Quick and Lively, Motto, Exit Quick, Dark Lace and Desert Shade. Penong used to be once a happy hunting ground - I do remember tipping the card there one day!

Home -- About Greg -- Older Stories -- The Virtual FormGuide

vine.gif (4739 bytes)

blb.gif (108 bytes) trx.gif (807 bytes) brb.gif (108 bytes)


[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Featured Horse

Click on Me
Featured Stallion

Click on Me
Featured Listing

Click on Me
Bill Saunders
Greg Irvine
Peter Mullen
Jenny Barnes
Brian Russell
Quentin Lang
Fiona Tomlin
Berni Saunders
Katrina Partridge
Jo Adams
Martin King
Gaye Gauci
blb.gif (108 bytes) trx.gif (807 bytes) brb.gif (108 bytes)