Horses racing for bragging rights in pub challenge

FAITHFUL STEED: Chris Parker, horse Bobbi J, publican Janessa Gilmont, Chris Gilmont and Col Johnson share an afternoon drink at The Old Hotel Eton.
FAITHFUL STEED: Chris Parker, horse Bobbi J, publican Janessa Gilmont, Chris Gilmont and Col Johnson share an afternoon drink at The Old Hotel Eton. Lee Constable

BRAGGING rights between Mackay's pub patrons will be up for grabs when hooves thunder down the beach course in the inaugural Great Northern Beer Pub Challenge horse race.

It won't stop the nation but will generate plenty of punters and provoke comments as they cheer on their favoured watering hole's horse and jockey. A keg of beer will be donated to the winning pub.

Out at The Old Hotel Eton they joke that jockey Chris Parker will chase down "village traitor" Squiddy Franettovich who will be riding a horse for rival pub the Old Railway Hotel.

The race should prove to be one of the hilarious highlights at the annual Mackay Beach Horse Racing Festival and will be held on Saturday August 9 along Mackay Harbour Beach.

Already four pubs have entered horses and jockeys and staff are busy designing their own colourful racing silks for jockeys to wear.


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Chris Parker is a regular at The Old Hotel Eton and publican Janessa Gilmont quickly talked him into taking up the challenge. Chris will be riding a thoroughbred in that race but will also enter his regular mount down to his friendly local Bobbi J - the family appaloosa.

Mrs Gilmont said the pub would bus patrons to the races to offer plenty of vocal support.

Festival organiser Mick Pope said he expected at least six pubs to enter a horse in the race but they had to be thoroughbreds.

Horses and jockeys are already entered by the Old Railway Hotel, Grove Tavern social club at the Andergrove Hotel, and the Kuttabul Hotel.

The horse races - sprints - take place along a 350m flat section of the beach when the tide is out.

There will be plenty of entertainment, live bands, children's amusements and lots of great food.


Mackay Beach Horse Racing Festival:

  • Held over three days from August 7 to 9.
  • Melco Engineering Beach Race Day on Saturday
  • Family entertainment includes children's amusements, fashion competitors, and food

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