Legends and winners on show at this year's Whitsunday Cup
THE sun shone on Bowen Turf Club last weekend as the Whitsunday Cup attracted a strong crowd to Ben Bolt Park.
Forecast early rain did nothing to dampen the race meeting that featured five non-TAB races as blue skies hovered at race time.
The event was headlined by the Bowen Qualifier of the Battle of the Bush series over the 1100m journey and the time-honoured Whitsunday Cup (1470m).
The Battle of the Bush qualifier saw Stellar Knight take top honours, ensuring the Olivia Cairns-trained galloper booked his spot in the $100,000 Final at Eagle Farm on June 22.
The Whitsunday Cup was won by Donavia, taking home $6140 for the first prize honours for the sibling combination of trainer Michael and jockey Chelsea Jokic.
The day wasn't just about what happened on the track however, with fancy fashion turning a number of heads as many attendees donned their best frocks.
Family fun day was also on the cards with a jumping castle and face painting from local business Colourful Faces proving to be a hit with the smallest race fans.
Bowen Turf Club secretary Emily Harvey said the turnout on the day had been one of the best the Whitsunday Cup had seen in recent years.
"We were really pleased with how the whole day went," Miss Harvey said.
"There was a much larger turnout than we expected, with around 700 people turning up for the day. Bowen Turf Club has been really trying to increase the presence of horse racing to the area, and I think bringing in initiatives like the Battle of the Bush, and inviting special guests like Australian cricket star Andy Bichel, Australian Racing Hall of Famer Jimmy Cassidy and rugby league great Trevor Gillmeister to these events has helped."
Miss Harvey said the group had been extremely outgoing and relaxed, regularly seen in conversation with punters on the day.
Mr Gillmeister, who currently is a sports analyst for Channel 7, said his time spent in Bowen had been very enjoyable.
"We've loved being in Bowen, it's been a really good time. Everyone has treated us well," Mr Gillmeister said.
Bowen Turf Club will hold their next race meeting on August 10.