Biggest race in the west
HORSE RACING: A whirlwind of red dust and thundering hooves set the scene for the 2018 Birdsville Cup, a familiar setting for race regulars and a captivating portrait of Western Queensland for thousands to enjoy.
Local trainers won big shares of the largest prize purse in the race's 136-year history.
Chinchilla-based trainer Bevan Johnson and 17-year-old apprentice jockey Adin Thompson won the Birdsville Cup with Blue Jest beating home the rest of the 12-horse field with connections collecting a record $40,000 for the surprise win.
"They told me you couldn't win with top weight, and then we drew the worst barrier,” Johnson said.
"I'm going to celebrate tonight, that's for sure.”
The win capped a successful day for Johnson who also enjoyed success in the last race with Still The Same saluting the judges.
Bevan Johnson and his racing family have been fielding horses in the Birdsville Cup of eight years now, and Thompson on Blue Jest delivered them their first victory.
Roma trainer Craig Smith, who took out last year's Birdsville Cup with Fast Fella, was another to feature prominently on the day.
Smith finished fourth in the Cup with Palace Tycoon, having started the day with a win in the first with The Scoop claiming victory.