I must say that when I saw all the vacant stables that were on course at the Gladstone racecourse when I visited that city nine days ago, I was a bit concerned that country racing was not in a good way in this State.

But after last Saturday’s meeting at the small country town of Alpha which is 659 kilometres inland from Gladstone, it’s quite obvious that country racing is as popular as ever – at least from a crowd perspective.

Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler advised me that Alpha is a little town of “400 people” and my trusty map of Queensland tells me Alpha is situated 168 kilometres west of Emerald and 138 kilometres east of Barcaldine, so it’s best described as being pretty much equidistant between Emerald and Barcaldine. Those latter two towns both have their own thoroughbred racetracks. In fact I visited and photographed the Emerald track last week and was impressed by both the course proper and the facilities there – and will bring those photos to website visitors when time permits in coming weeks. Haven’t made it to Barcaldine yet to photograph their track, but hopefully that will happen one day in the future.

And if anyone from South-East Queensland thinks they know a bit about the subject of geography of Queensland, just up the line from Alpha is Beta. I reckon that’s brilliant. Whoever thought of that little gem should have got an award way back when. Then after Beta as you head towards Alpha is Jericho (not the biblical one), Alice (not the “A town like Alice” one), Lochnagar and Geera. Most may have heard of Jericho, but it’s 100/1 and drifting that 99.9% would have heard of the others.

So how amazing was it that last Saturday at the Alpha Jockey Club Inc race meeting, the club was able to attract a crowd of “around 2,000”. So given the fact that “400 people” live in the town of Alpha, incredibly 500% more people than the entire population of the town turned up at the races.

Thinking it through – and to understand the enormity of what I’d call the “amazing feat” of getting 2,000 people to a race meeting where the entire population of Alpha is “400” is equivalent to Doomben getting 11.5 million people to a race meeting there – as 11.5 million is 500% of the normal population of Brisbane, which when Googled says it’s around “2.3 million” currently and for the purpose of this exercise near enough is close enough.

That Alpha crowd figure of “around 2,000” is extraordinary given the towns near Alpha are hardly thriving, well-known large population bases. And don’t forget through all this that Doomben in Brisbane has the capacity to also draw some of its attendees from nearby huge population bases like the Gold Coast (current population approximately 535,000) the Sunshine Coast (current population approximately 283,000) and Ipswich (current population approximately 180,000).

Noteworthy also is the fact that Alpha’s meeting was just a humble non-TAB affair. Six races with only $77,500 in total prizemoney were on offer at Alpha. By contrast Doomben staged the primary TAB thoroughbred meeting in Queensland on the same day with $590,000 in total prizemoney up for grabs, so Alpha’s total prizemoney was just 13.14% of Doomben’s.

Thoroughbred racing may well be under the whip and going up and down in the one spot in the metropolitan areas along the eastern seaboard, but if last Saturday’s Alpha meeting is anything to go by, country race meetings that are well marketed to the local area and surrounds have a bright future.

And in other positive country racing news that’s hot off the press from last night, comes this release from respected Sky Channel racecaller and Darling Downs Harness Racing Club Inc President Anthony Collins. Unedited it reads:

The Darling Downs Harness Racing Club (DDHRC) is excited to announce it will be holding its second meeting on the grass course proper at Allman Park, Warwick on Sunday the 6th September being Father’s Day.

As planning progressed after a successful race meeting of this nature in 2014, the club and Racing Queensland have secured Sky Racing and TAB coverage for this meeting. This will be only the second full TAB meeting on a grass track in Queensland covered by the TAB, the first being Deagon in 2014.

The club raised several thousand dollars for Relay For Life last year and similarly this year’s gate takings will be donated to the Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ).

Eight races will take place with the feature race being the Garrard’s Warwick Cup of $5,000, as a co-feature the 2105 CCQ Jackie Bunch Memorial will be staged again along with several other community cups.

The club is adding several other attractions to the day for the family and kids alike. The Fashions on the field will carry a prize purse of over $1700 and the kid’s attractions include a jumping castle, face painting and an animal nursery. A wine tasting stand will also be in operation.

Nominations of 60 plus entrants from as far away as Tamworth and Redcliffe are expected.

For further information the club President Anthony Collins can be contacted on 0498123440 or email

Today on there’s the first of two big montages of photos over consecutive days of Doomben last Saturday and the non-TAB meeting at Alpha. On there’s the story about two Aussie stallions, one has sired a winner in France and the other has a son that’s won five of 11 In Singapore, whilst on trainer Mick Blackmore is happy with gate 4 for his stable star, and the famous Spendthrift Farm is happy with the reception that their four foundation stallions has received.

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