Proud racing tradition set to resume with the Allora Cup
AFTER a lull of around 45 years, the sound of a bugle ringing out Call to Post once again for an Allora Cup horse racing meet is only 24 hours away.
The Railway Hotel Allora Cup - Blues, Brews and BBQs Race Day meeting will be hosted at Warwick's Allman Park by the Warwick Turf Club tomorrow.
Organisers are hoping to see all of Allora on course for the rebirth of the race meet named in honour of the Best Little Town on the Downs.
The former Allora Jockey Club was formed at a meeting held in Allora's Princess of Wales Hotel on October 6, 1888.
Horse racing was held continuously at Allora after that date including patriotic meetings during both World Wars, the Allora Racecourse hosting one such meeting on January 6, 1940, the Jockey Club patron at that time was Mr W. A. Deacon Esq., M.L.A.
Racing may have been suspended in Allora during much of the Second World War, the first reference a race meeting after the war was a New Year's Meeting held on the January 22, 1949, with a six-race program, the feature race being the New Year Handicap.
The first Allora Cup was to have occurred on October 8, 1949, the Cup to be run for overall prize money of £45 and a cup valued at £10/10. The race club secretary in 1949 and for the next 11 years at least, was the Allora railway station master, Jack Hilton.
While the 1949 Allora Cup meeting was originally scheduled to be run on October 8, Allora Jockey Club honorary secretary Mr J. Hilton advised Mr E. Perkins of the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery that the meeting had been washed out, and submitting the same liquor order for a new date, Thursday, November 10.
That day in 1949 at the Allora Racetrack saw a six-race program draw a big crowd at what was one of the district's major social events.
Purchasing a program for the meeting would set you back one shilling, while admission for gents was eight shillings and ladies three shillings and 11 pence.
The first race with 16 starters was the First Hack Handicap, which was followed by the "Fifth Division Handicap" over five furlongs with four runners. The five-furlong Sixth Division Handicap was the third race on the program, followed by a Seventh Division Handicap over five furlongs, then Race 5 the Allora Cup with the Second Hack Handicap with 17 entries.
The first Allora Cup Handicap was run over six furlongs (1207 metres) started at 4.45pm on the race day, Thursday.
The starters in the big race were 1. Nobleman, 2. Jack Bine, 3. British Pal, 4. Antagonist (Scratched), 5. Jalark, 6. Booreeyamma (Scratched), 7. Dark Sage, 8. Drought, 9. Collegian, 10. Lady Risdon, 11. King Sem, 12. Parker and 13. Carlbourne.
Tom Cowley's "Nobleman" (Rivoli - Molly's Robe) etched its name in local turf history carrying the top weight of 10 stone 3 lbs to win the inaugural Allora Cup and the 10 pounds 10 shillings prize money. The black gelding was trained by Dick Byrne and ridden by Joe Murphy.
The required eight 10 gallon kegs of ale and other supplies ready for the big day landed in Allora with Western Transport on November 7. The Jockey Club used to conduct an on-track publicans booth under the licence of Mr L. Daley of Allora's Royal Hotel at the time.
The initial Allora Cup Meeting on that November afternoon was a striking success it seems, Mr Hilton writing to the Downs and South-Western District Racing Association that "the Allora Jockey Club held one of the most successful meetings ever held at Allora, it exceeded all expectations and we did not anticipate such a large crowd, or such a number of bookmakers".
Vince Curry, who called many Allora Cups, was regarded at the time as the best race caller that Queensland has produced, in fact, his broadcasting was respected nationwide.
He was secured for the 1949 Allora Cup, confirmed in correspondence to the Allora Jockey Club from Mr D.E. Gold, assistant manager of Gold Radio Service Pty Ltd (4GR), Toowoomba.
The rescheduled cup meeting was the Jockey Club's first mid-week meeting, and difficulties occurred when some local club officials had trouble getting away from work in time for the commencement of the meeting.
The Allora Jockey Club committee identified a number of shortfalls at the Allora Racecourse at their 1949 Annual Meeting, Secretary Hilton making a submission to
the Allora Shire Council through the shire clerk Mr A. Hamilton in July of that year. The written request included 12 bookmaker's stands, repairs to the Semaphore Board, cover and seating for ladies, track to be attended to at least a month before each race meeting and fencing around the booths, stalls and offices to enable tree plantings and the establishment of an area of lawn and exclude roaming cattle. The improvements and upgrades were requested to be complete by October 8, the scheduled day of the 1949 Allora Cup.
Correspondence received on August 17 from the shire clerk advised that council at its general meeting had "decided to attend to the various matters referred to as set out in your letter, and that same be done as far as possible".
At the time of the first Allora Cup meeting, Allora Jockey Club officials included patron: Mr C. B. Bardwell, president: Mr G. Maher Snr, vice-presidents: Messrs C. Laws, F. Stewart and H. Geck, judge: Mr W. Fritz, asst judge: Mr J. Dalton, club stewards: Messrs C. B. Bardwell, G. Shannon and J. Anderson, stipendiary steward: Mr L. W. Harpham, starter: Mr J. Devitt, semaphore board: Mr J. Stewart, clerk of scales: Mr G. Anderson, saddle cloth steward: Mr F. Stewart, tote stewards: Messrs R. Deacon, J. Rossberg and W. Chantler, clerk of course: Mr G. Anderson, handicapper: Mr J. Spalding, timekeeper: Mr W. Anderson, barrier steward: Mr H. Geck, race commentator: Mr E. W. Martin and secretary/treasurer Mr J. G. Hilton.
The 1950 Allora Cup was won by R. C. Crowther's "Bon Ami", while the 1952 Cup was run on September 25, the winner coming from the field of King's Lady, Witty Nero, Sheridan, Joeanny, Inglemark, Orizaba, High Custom, Enamour, Betty's Gift and Mel Mine.
In 1953, the Cup winner was the mare "Plane" owned and trained by Frank Armstrong, who also won the 1955 Allora Cup, with "Lurcher Queen".
From 1956 the Allora Cup was run on Melbourne Cup Day, and the 1956 winner was "Bubbatonga" owned by Bob Armstrong.
The final Allora Cup meeting appears to have been run on the November 3, 1959.
The 2014 Railway Hotel Allora Cup meet will begin tonight with a Calcutta at the Railway Hotel featuring horses in the five-race program on race day tomorrow.
A Cup Day breakfast will start at 10am at the Railway Hotel, prior to bus transport at $10 per person being available leaving for Warwick's Allman Park at 11.30am.
The original 1949 Allora Cup will be on show at Allman Park tomorrow, as will another Cup that has been unearthed that was won by "Wilga Belle", the owner-trainer being W. Hilton, but alas no year was inscribed.
The "Railway Hotel Allora Cup - Blues, Brews and BBQ's Race Day" program for Saturday at Warwick's Allman Park.
- Race 1 1:04pm Allora Engineering and Welding - HORSE WALKERS/Allora and District Tyres 800m Benchmark 55 Handicap
- Race 2 1:39pm Glenmar Fuels 1200m QTIS Maiden Plate 2YO up
- Race 3 2:14pm Railway Hotel Allora 1200m Benchmark 70 Allora Cup
- Race 4 2:49pm Railway Hotel Allora 1350m Class 1 Handicap
- Race 5 3:35pm Allora Butchery/Allora Pharmacy/Allora Hardware/The Hon. Tom and Sandra McVeigh
- 1500m Class 4 Handicap.
- For further details contact Glyn Rees (0400 811 093) or Warwick Turf Club secretary Kristen Doyle (0414 899 854).