Echo Point wins 139th Birdsville Cup for Barcaldine connections

Sally Gall
By Sally Gall
Updated April 12 2022 - 7:55pm, first published April 11 2022 - 9:00am
Winners are grinners: Birdsville Cup winner Echo Point with Toni Austin representing her husband, trainer Todd Austin, jockey Brook Richardson, and part owners Will and Marcelle Chandler, Barcaldine. Picture: Max Agency

The 139th Birdsville Cup is back in Barcaldine tonight, after central west Queensland galloper Echo Point went to the lead in the historic event for a commanding win.

It was the third Birdsville Cup win for trainer Todd Austin but the first for the excited Barcaldine syndicate on hand to cheer the champion home.

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Speaking on behalf of all the euphoric owners, Barcaldine's Will Chandler said it had been a magic day for them all.

They took the opportunity to fly west at the last minute and were rewarded handsomely, watching the horse shorten in the betting from $1.50 to $1.18 before the barriers opened on the much anticipated race.

Training partner and part-owner Toni Austin complimented jockey Brooke Richardson on her patient ride, saying the horse had come home really well.

Second in the race was Shiranda, trained by Mackay's John Manzelman, and ridden by the only other female jockey at the meet, Jade Doolan.

Bernie's Tiger, another from the Manzelman stable, was third.

Ms Austin said they now hoped to be back in September to make it a double for Echo Point.

In what is believed to be the single biggest trainer bonus in the history of country racing in Queensland, if a trainer wins both the April and September 2022 TAB Birdsville Cup races, they will receive up to $15,000 in bonuses.

"Let's say today was a practice run for September," Ms Austin said.

Monday's win gave the Austin stable concurrent Birdsville Cup wins - they won it with French Hussler the last time the event was run, in 2019.

It also gave them a trifecta of wins, beginning with Primed in the 2013 Birdsville Cup.

Todd Austin was named the trainer of the two-day meet while Ric McMahon was the leading jockey.

The result topped off another action-packed day of country racing for the tiny town on the edge of the Simpson Desert, where iced water was as much in demand as the usual refreshments to combat the scorching heat.

Crowds were down on the usual number, with 3000 tickets purchased each day, but organisers said they were just glad to be back racing and seeing people back in the outback.

Horses, trainers and jockeys from as far afield as Mackay, Strathalbyn in South Australia, Warwick and Darwin took part in outback Queensland's richest two-day race-meet.

Punters across Australia were able to experience all the action from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to a renewed national telecast deal between the races and Sky Racing.

The partnership saw the full 13-race line-up televised into homes nationally via Sky Racing.

The Birdsville Races are supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It's Live! in Queensland events calendar.

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Sally Gall

Sally Gall

Senior journalist - Queensland Country Life/North Queensland Register

Based at Blackall, CW Qld, where I've raised a family, run Merino sheep and beef cattle, and helped develop a region - its history, tourism, education and communications.

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