Cessnock Racecourse in top condition for Friday's Jungle Juice Cup

BIG DAY: Punters cheer on the field at last year's Jungle Juice Cup. Picture: Krystal Sellars.
BIG DAY: Punters cheer on the field at last year's Jungle Juice Cup. Picture: Krystal Sellars.

A welcome 33 millimetres of rain fell on the Cessnock Racecourse last week ensuring the track surface will be in fine condition for Friday’s 2018 Cessnock Leagues Club Jungle Juice Cup race meeting.

The famous Jungle Juice Cup first run in 1981 has been Cessnock flagship event ever since. In recent months with the drought hitting hard and the dam at the racecourse empty, one Cessnock meeting was transferred to Newcastle because of the track.

Rain had to fall to save the Jungle Juice Cup meeting from being transferred.

A few weeks back some much-needed rain arrived with last week’s fall the icing on the cake.

Course manager Steve Tapp was a relieved man earlier this week.

“The rain has been fantastic, and the track is in the soft range at present. It came at the right time for the Jungle Juice Cup meeting,” Tapp said.

The Jungle Juice Cup has had a resurgence of interest since it’s move to October from July last season and odds in favour of punters for showers to hold off until the meeting is finished.

A calcutta will be held at the Cessnock Leagues Club on Thursday from 7pm with tickets available at the club.

Robert Thompson has ridden 11 Jungle Juice Cup winners while Jeremy Sylvester has trained eight winners of the famous race.

Thompson’s first two Cup winners Top Hat Joe (1982) and Action Time (1985) were trained by his father Arthur.

In 1986 ‘RT’ steered Barzoon home for Maitland trainer Phil Atkins. His next three cups winners were for Sylvester - Justifiably Proud (1988), Desalante (1989) and Mighty Rimu (1993).

Former Kiwi Beaucastel carried Thompson to victory in 1994 and he had to wait 18years for his next cup win aboard General’s Sniper.

Sylvester and Thompson combined to win three Jungle Juice Cups with Youthful King in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Fields for this year’s eight-race meeting will be finalised on Wednesday, but in a sign of its pulling power 171 horses have been nominated for races.

As part of it’s sponsorship of this year’s race, the Cessnock leagues club has 1000 free Jungle Juice Gate tickets to give away to its members.

Simply come in and ask at reception, show your Members card for your tickets. There is a maximum of four ticket per member. Tckets are valued $10 each. 

Looking forward and Wednesday, November 21, will be a historic day for racing at Cessnock. It is the first showcase meeting with record prizemoney including the richest race ever held at Cessnock, the $50,000 Cessnock Cup (2125m).