The Melbourne Cup may be the race that stops the nation, but the Emerald 100 is Central Highlands’ race that paints the towns red.
With an estimated flock of thousands, Pioneer Park in Emerald anticipates a colourful crowd converging to meet for the town’s greatest racing day.
The Emerald 100 goes beyond the racing, with festivities and entertainment that attract those that aren’t even there for the horses. From fashions in the field and popular live bands to keep everyone entertained, the show certainly is well-rounded. And of course, the highlight is in the full program of races and corporate packages that make this event not one to be missed.
The Emerald 100 gets its name from the prize money offered during the very first run in 1965. With a popular kick start that grew its following over many years, the 100 has earned its honorary title of being the most prestigious race to win in the Central Highlands circuit. It’s the race the region’s racers have their eyes set on to win.
The history of the Emerald 100 is nothing short of fascinating. Several adjustments have been made to the racing distance of the 100, with it being increased to 1,800 metres in 1979, again to 1,900 metres in 1981, and again to 2,000 metres in 1981. The distance remained at 2,000 metres until 2004 and 2005 where it was reduced down to 1635 metres. In 2006, the Emerald Jockey Club decided to revert to the 1850-metre distance, which has remained intact ever since.
The reason behind the changes is due to the tinkering in efforts to find the right balance in the aim of attracting quality fields.
In the 56 years of the race, only two horses have been saluted more than once. The first was Pleasant Express in 1992 ridden by Athol Williams and again in 1993 when ridden by John Stephens. An honorary mention must be given to Snedden, who claimed two of Queensland’s richest country races - the Emerald 100 and the Birdsville Cup both in 1995, and then the Birdsville Cup again in the following year’s 1996 edition.
Exploder, a Blackal owned galloper, equaled the feat in 2002 and 2003, ridden by Athol Williams and Ricky Barone and trained by legendary country trainer Billy Trimble.
When it comes to placing your bets, the Emerald 100 has been a rollercoaster of emotions for bookmakers. Slim Henry’s win in 2014 caused a bloodbath for bookies as big bets were left reeling in the aftermath. 2018 saw The Greatest making the earth rumble and taking the win with Alisha Ross in the saddle. Needless to say, excitement is at its peak when it comes to punters looking to make an edge.
The 2021 edition of the 100 will take place on Saturday 9 October 2021 at Pioneer Park in Emerald, with gates opening at 11am. There are 5 local races scheduled that day including the Emerald Lightning and Emerald 100. To top things off, attendees will stand the chance to win an Emerald Isuzu Ute plus a $500 visa gift card. All you have to do is tag @Emerald Isuzu Ute into your Facebook race day photos and the winner will be announced thereafter.
Race 1 kicks off at 1.30pm for the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1,200 metres for a total prize of $8,500. Race 2 kicks off at 2.15pm for the Maiden Plate over 1,000 metres for a total prize of $8,500 and bonuses in play. Race 3 kicks off at 3pm for the Lightning Open Handicap over 1,000 metres for a total prize of$11,500. Race 4 kicks off at 3.45pm for the Diesel Repairs Benchmark 50 Handicap over 1,615 metres for a total prize of $8,500. Race 5 starts at 4.30pm for the Country Cups Challenge Qualifier/Emerald Isuzu Emerald 100 Open Handicap over 1,850 metres for a total prize of 13,000.
What to do after the Emerald 100
Head to the Maraboon Tavern for a quality feast befitting an amazing night at the Emerald 100. The Maraboon Tavern’s mouth watering BBQ smokehouse meats will give you the ultimate taste of quality Australian cuisine, with an extensive menu that works beyond premium meats.
Pub classics, fresh meals, light snacks, cold tap beer, and a wide range of drinks will be at your whim at the Maraboon Tavern. A visit here will have you understanding why this establishment is a favourite among locals.
Where to watch the Emerald 100 in Emerald
If you weren’t lucky enough to catch the show live, don’t miss out on having a great time by heading to the Maraboon Tavern to watch the event live on the big screen. With a welcoming atmosphere that will have you imagining as if you were right in Pioneer Park, the delicious meals and exceptional customer service will complete your experience of the Emerald 100.
Be sure to make a booking at the Maraboon Tavern to avoid disappointment by calling (07) 4982 0999.
Banner image credit: Cairns Post