A jockey returning to the sport after more than a year off capped a remarkable comeback as Aquis Beaudesert paid tribute to the late Jimboomba breeder Donald Ible on Derby Day.
On her first time back in the saddle since July 1, 2017, Montanna Savva guided the Chris Munce trained Mini Mountain to victory by a convincing three length margin.
The race had been named in honour of Ible, the much-respected racing personality, who passed away on Thursday morning.
The emphatic triumph set the tone for a tremendous day of horse racing, as more than 500 flocked through the gates on a scorching spring day.
Beauy trainers made up 27 of the 50 nominations across the five race card, with Greg Cornish and Ben Robinson leading the charge but it was prolific trainer Darleen Duryea who broke through for the first local win.
It came in race four, with Nathan Fazackerley riding Favulicious to victory by almost two lengths.
Racing director James Cable said crowds had exceeded expectations which demonstrated racing was experiencing a resurgence at Beaudesert since the merger with Aquis Gold Coast Turf Club in June.
“One of our aims is to raise the crowds back up,” he said.
“The attendance numbers on Derby Day certainly show we’re heading in the right direction with where we want to go with the merger.
“We've had great feedback from both locals and visitors, and it’s onward and upwards from here.”
Cable said the Country Luncheon had almost been sold-out as racegoers packed into the pavilion to dine in style on gourmet fare.
The Fashions on the Field was another highlight as the ladies outdid themselves, turning up in all their finery to take part. Lyn McLean from Milford Country Cottages in Boonah took out first prize in the female fashion stakes, while David Quast from Beaudesert won first place in the men’s. Terry and Colleen Moloney from Gleneagle earned the couples fashion gong.
Cable said the event scheduled for December 4 had been traded for a Queensland Metro meeting to be held on December 12 and Aquis Beaudesert invited race fans to enjoy Christmas on the course.