Rural Aid ambassador Phoebe Jay was excited to be part of Bundaberg Ulton Race Day and thanked the accounting firm for supporting drought-stricken farmers across Australia.
With passion in her voice the 17-year-old country music singer explained the difference that would be made after the races were finished.
“The most amazing thing about the Rural Aid campaign is that farmers are often very isolated and in far-off areas that are very hard to reach,” Phoebe said.
“It’s really hard to have a chat to people that are really far way, so Rural Aid is actually getting licensed counsellors to drive all the way to these properties and sit down at the kitchen table and have a chat about what is needed and most importantly they are willing to listen.”
It's hoped the Ulton Race Day will raise more than $15,000 to support Rural Aid.
“I am amazed that that amount will be raised,” Phoebe said.
“People see the money, but I actually see where this money goes to, I see the families that get help.
“At the moment we have 90,000 farmers that are registered for the Rural Aid help, which means they can get help whether its hay bales or counselling – the help is there.”
She thanked the accounting firm for the support and said the money raised would help make a difference.
One of Ulton’s partners Bernard Whebell said in Ulton’s 90-year history there were many clients from agricultural industries, so supporting Rural Aid was an easy choice.
“What Phoebe says is so true, about hard it is, and how that sector is doing it tough,” he said.
“Listening to Phoebe with her passion you forget that it is a very proud sector and sometimes they find it very hard to find assistance and the resources like Rural Aid make it easy, because sometimes they are embarrassed and don’t want to do it themselves.”
Community is important to ‘Ultarians’
Ulton’s marketing manager Katrina Darr said “Ultarians” had the simple goal of just wanting to help people in Bundaberg Region.
She said the race day was always highly anticipated and a highlight of the Bundaberg racing calendar.
“This is the 14th year we have held the Ulton Race Day,” Katrina said.
“It’s just grown over the years and we now have 400 people in the marquee.”
Katrina said each year a charity was chosen to support and after receiving a request from Phoebe Jay about sponsorship the decision was easy as it was a very worthy cause.
“We also offered to help farmers that were doing it tough and give them a break from it all with two nights’ accommodation at Bargara,” she said.
“We have a local lady here who is doing it tough as her dams are dry and she’s had a lot going on and she has taken us up on the offer, which is nice to know we can help.”
Hard work rewarded with maiden win
With Bundaberg’s own Melbourne Cup meeting two months away, William and Janet Melvin from Melvin Racing and Rehoming enjoyed a winning start to spring racing in 2019.
The pair’s four-year-old gelding Hezagigilo (58.5kg), ridden by Loise Dillon, won The Ulton Cup Maiden Plate (1090m) ahead of El Ninos Choice (58.5kg) in second, and Search and Destroy (58.5kg) in third.
Janet was impressed with the $1.80 favourite’s win in the $7500 race despite the run not being what she expected.
“I was surprised he wasn’t leading because he hit the front in Rocky in his last start, but once you hear them working into it at the 600m mark you know you’re going to be okay,” Janet said.
“If they’re not working into it at the 600m it is time to walk away.”
The win came as a great joy to the Melvins who have about 30 horses on their property in Alloway, each of which are cared for immensely by William and Janet.
The off-track work the Bundaberg Race Club was doing benefited people just like them.
With little rain falling on the Bundaberg region this year Janet said keeping feed up to the horses was a struggle, but they both worked hard at it because they loved what they did.
“We’re up to two grand a week for feed, so we have to change our regime a bit,” she said.
“Hay is in very short supply and not only is it expensive, but sourcing it is all but impossible
“It is quite stressful, but we continue on our merry way.”
Janet added she paid $118 for four bales of hay recently which gave the horses a couple of snacks.
The money raised at the Ulton Race Day will go to hard-working people just like William and Janet, and every cent was going to be appreciated.
Fantastic turn out to Ulton Race
Bundaberg Race Club president Dale Rethamel said it was a fantastic crowd, with almost 1000 people through the gate to help support Rural Aid.
“September is a wonderful month for the races; more Bundaberg traditional great weather and it is so good to see such great support here,” Dale said.
Bundaberg Race Club race day coordinator Shanyn Limpus said the Ulton Cup was the first race of the Spring Carnival and it was nice to see the new fashions on the field.
“We are a non-for-profit organisation and mostly ran by volunteers and we are really happy with the turn-out today as that means all the volunteers hard work has paid off,” Shanyn said.
“We have seven race day in the season and Melbourne Cup will be the next race.”
- Other news: Fine fashions on the field at Bundaberg Cup