With Two Melbourne Cup runners, a Derby winner and 10 individual stakes winners among the spectacular nominations, Thursday’s Polytrack Rowley Mile is set to add another chapter to a successful heritage at Hawkesbury Race Club.
As an ideal target for middle-distance and staying types preparing for Spring riches, the Rowley Mile has been reprogrammed throughout its history and now sits as Hawkesbury’s Listed Winter Feature with a $150,000 prize pool.
“The lifting of prizemoney to $150,000 has been met with a strong response in its second year at this level,” said Hawkesbury chief executive, Greg Rudolph.
“The last two winners, McCreery and Arbeitsam, subsequently went on to win at Group level and this race is well suited in the late Winter program, providing strong form lines into the Spring,” Rudolph added.
The race became a highlight for the club, first run in 1881, when run in the early Autumn following a break of racing during the heat of the summer months.
The 1600m handicap is one of the oldest and most consistent events run at Hawkesbury, with minor gaps following administrative issues between 1897 and 1903, intrusion of the Second World War and the everlasting effects between 1942 and 1950 and later, with programming difficulties in the late sixties and again between 1997 and 2000.
With an honour roll that includes racing legends George Moore, Ray Selkrig and Malcolm Johnston, to modern day greats Darren Beadman, Ron Quinton, Glen Boss and trainers Clarry Conners, Alan Denham, Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller; the “Mile” transforms a midweek meeting into a racing showpiece worthy of Listed status.
In 2018, the Rowley Mile meeting will host the Hawkesbury Liquor Accord and their partners, raising funds for the Hawkesbury-based charity One80TC, aiding the rehabilitation of men and women with drug and alcohol addiction.
“In addition to rehabilitative services, participants are encouraged to integrate back into the community and prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce or gain further education,” a One80TC statement said.
“The participative residential program, based in the Hawkesbury ... has provided assistance to over 5,000 young men with a focus on self-identity; family and relationships (including reconciliation); personal development; and work and responsibilities.”
The facility has 45 beds.
Gates at Hawkesbury Race Club will open at 11am on August 23, with the first event run at 12.40pm, and the famous Mile set to go at 4.20pm.