Ewan Amateur Turf Club to celebrate centenary of racing

Charters Towers trainer John Barr is hoping for an early 60th birthday present with a stable newcomer in the $33,000 Ewan Cup on Friday.

The races double as a qualifier for the Country Cups Challenge. 

Barr will celebrate his birthday next month and has been a regular at the Stockyards Creek race meetings for the entire 40 years of his training career.

He will line up last-start Kilcoy winner Sir Gunsen in the 1750 metre event.

Sir Gunsen, formerly in the Caloundra yard of leading trainer David Vandyke, has been in Barr's care for the past fortnight.

The six-year-old gelding by So You Think is owned by the Brownson clan, who are a local district grazing family, for whom Barr has trained horses over many years for. 

"He's only a Class 3 horse but he won well at Kilcoy and there's really only one good horse in the small field, which is the Stephen Massingham trained-Brilliant Mind, as top weight on 132lbs and the rest of us on 55kg," Barr said.

"The horse arrived here in good order and has worked well since settling in so hopefully he'll do all right."

Sir Gunsen is one of four horses Barr will start at the historic meeting with two going around at the TAB meeting on Friday and two on Saturday, with the second race day run as a country non-TAB. 

Racing first started at Ewan 100 years ago but went into recess during the depression of the 1930s and the severe drought years which followed.

The Ewan Amateur Turf Club was regenerated in 1955 and the present track established with full camping facilities, which are available for the thousands who gather for the festivities.

The fun begins on the Thursday and continues through to Sunday's recovery session.

Prior to 2015 all races were for grass fed horses but Ewan became the last Queensland club to switch to corn fed horses in 2015.

Barr was a regular at the grass feds and recalls the year he won eight of the 10 races on the two day program.

He said he has won the Ewan Cup "nine or ten times".

"Actually, I was going to miss out this year as I had turned all my horses out," Barr said.

"However, I brought five of them back into work and then Sir Gunsen arrived

"It's an amazing set-up now at the Ewan track for only the two meetings a year.

"The track is a real credit to those who get it ready and the facilities for the racing folk as well as the public are excellent."


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