Annual Racing at the Kimba Cup

Annual Racing at the Kimba Cup

There are two generalisations that can be applied to Australians without fear of giving offence: they tend to love their horseracing, and they have a can-do attitude, no matter what the circumstances. That’s the only reasonable explanation for the fact that Australians will create a thriving racing club in a rural town that is too small even to have its own racecourse.

The Kimba Racing Club is an excellent example. It has been in existence for 102 years, even though the tiny rural service town of Kimba, 458 km from Adelaide on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has a population of less than 700. For more than a century, the Kimba Racing Club has presented the Kimba Cup race on an annual basis, by making use of another typical Australian behaviour: relying on your mates to lend a hand when you need one for bets on horse racing.

The Kimba Cup is therefore run at Ravendale Park in nearby Port Lincoln, a racecourse widely considered the finest on the Eyre Peninsula. By encouraging punters to show off their finest race-going fashions, providing children’s entertainment and adding attractions like a Daiquiri Factory to the day, the Kimba Racing Club has turned the Kimba Cup into a major local draw-card.

Kimba Cup 2015 Results

The 2015 Kimba Cup was won by a seven-year-old gelding by the name of Moon Devil, securing the 1st-prize money of A$16,800 for co-owner and trainer Angela Forster. Moon Devil was ridden by Ashley Doyle, with five-year-old New Zealand gelding Nomis, trained by Gordon Carter and ridden by Zac Spain, finishing second, and eight-year-old gelding Japan, also trained by Angela Forster and ridden by Todd Pannell, finishing third. The race favourite, nine-year-old gelding Value As, finished sixth. Of the 11 runners in the race, Moon Devil received the third-heaviest handicapping, carrying extra weight of 55.5kg on the course.

 Kimba Cup Details

Kimba is a typical small town in Australia’s arid/semi-arid zone, with water a constant concern for the locals. The name means “bushfire” in the local Aboriginal language, and the burning bush on the town’s coat of arms reflects this. The earliest European settlers were lease-holding pastoralists, but demand for wheat in the late 1800s and early 1900s encouraged the clearing of indigenous bush and the creation of extensive wheat farms.

A lack of reliable groundwater in the region means that crop farmers are reliant on rainfall, which averages less than 350mm per year. Apart from servicing the local agricultural and livestock industries, Kimba’s major claim to fame is the seven-metre tall statue of a galah bird alongside the highway, marking the midpoint between the Australian West and East coasts. The first Kimba Cup day was held at Ravendale Park in 1913; the modern race is an open thoroughbred contest on turf over 1,960 metres, with a total purse of AU$25,000 up for grabs. It has gained the reputation of a top-quality country race meeting over the decades, and this year’s event attracted a crowd of around 1,500: more than double the population of Kimba itself.