Fun, fashion, and fillies at Innisfail Banana Industry Race Day

Jockey Marnu Potgieter, Innisfail trainer, Stephen Potiris, owners, and connections of the winning horse Miss Clair, at the presentation after Race 2.

WET weather did not dampen spirits, as hundreds of punters flocked to the Innisfail Turf Club Banana Industry Race Day on Saturday for the six-race program.

This is the first TAB meeting hosted by Innisfail Turf Club since November 2020, following track redevelopments.

The popular annual event was sponsored by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, who held a special luncheon for patrons in the covered pavilion.

Judging of the Junior Boys and Girls Fashions took place throughout the afternoon, followed by the pre-judging for Fashions on the Field, and the presentation of prizes and sashes to the overall winners.

In the first race, the 1,100m QTIS Maiden Plate, Sunshine Coast horse Quarter Past, ridden by Carl Spry, came from second last at the 400m mark and stormed home first past the post, ahead of Cairns trained horse, You Dreamt What ridden by Shane Pawsey in second, and Redenzo Roman trained by Maria Potiris (Innisfail) in third place.

Miss Clair, ridden by Marnu Potgieter and trained by Stephen Potiris (Innisfail), came from sixth in the field to win the Benchmark 45 Handicap over 1,100m, whilst Buwan, trained by Stuie Hill (Mareeba) placed second, and Sir Roland trained by Jenny Ball (Mareeba) finished third.

The third race, the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 900m, was won by War General, ridden by jockey Masayuki Abe, and trained by Roy Chillemi (Tolga). 

Sylvester, trained by Sharlee D’Avila from Tolga, and Cadence, trained by Atherton’s Janel Ryan, placed second and third, respectively.

The Open Handicap run over 1,200m was won by Our Chiquilla ridden by Lacey Morrison, and trained by Scott Cooper (Cairns), whilst Cool Attitude, trained by Jenny Ball (Mareeba) claimed second place, with Tycoon Thunder ridden by Masayuki Abe and trained by Ricky Ludwig (Atherton) in third place.

Tutelage, trained by Janel Ryan (Atherton) and ridden by Scott Sheargold won the Open Handicap 1,800m, Brilliant Mind ridden by Marnu Potgieter and trained by Stephen Massingham (Cairns) finished second, and Lady Yendor trained by Bill Kenning (Townsville) and ridden by Peter Cullen placed third. 

Poor visibility resulted in the final race, the Benchmark 55 Handicap, run over 1,500m to be abandoned.

The winners of the Fashions on the Field sponsored by Tropicana Banana were as follows:

Junior Girl (Under 13): Winner: Charlize Di Carlo; Runner Up: Isadora Nucifora.

Junior Boy (Under 13): Winner: Nate Austin; Runner Up: Bailey Johnston.

Fashionable Filly (13-17 years): Winner: Sophie Cockrem; Runner Up: Sophie Barnes.

Lady of the Track (Under 35 years): Winner: Daniella Stephenson; Runner Up: Emily Bensilum.

Lady of the Track (35+ years): Winner: Kymberlee Cockrem; Runner Up: Tanya Pensini.

Millinery: Winner: Shynade Smith; Highly Commended: Daniella Stephenson.

Best Dressed Male: Winner: Peter Di Bella; Runner Up: Ben Austin.

Best Dressed Couple: Peter and Angelique Di Bella; Runner Up: Libby Spannagle and Leeroy Nain. 

The next date on the racing calendar is the Innisfail Annuals on Saturday, October 16, which is one of the biggest social events of the year.

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