The annual Manangatang Cup, held each year on the second Saturday in October, is one of the most famous once-a-year race meetings in Australia. That fame comes from the saying “They’re racing at Manangatang”, which put the event on the map way back in the 1940s. The saying was popularised by comedian Ward Leopold, who produced a number of best-selling comedy records in the 1940s and ’50s.
In 2017, the local racing club celebrated 100 years of racing in Manangatang (the first recorded race meeting in the town took place on Easter Monday 1917). More than 3000 people flocked to the event, a number made all the more impressive when you take into account that the population of Manangatang, a town in north-west Victoria’s Mallee region, is just 250.
The founder of Ten Bag Press, Adam McNicol, grew up in Manang and is a board member of the Manangatang Racing Club. Adam decided to help celebrate the centenary of racing by commissioning his three favourite photographers – Noel Butcher, Andrew Chapman and Jaime Murcia – to document the 2017 meeting, with the best pictures to be used in a coffee table-style book called They’re racing at Manangatang.
Six days on from the race meeting and we can report that, as expected, Noel, Andrew and Jaime produced a brilliant collection of pictures. They captured everything from the crowd to the jockeys, trainers, strappers, horses and the post-races entertainment, which featured local legend Jeff ‘Gibbo’ Gibson and Damian Howard and the Ploughboys.
Production of the book will now get underway, with a planned release date of June 2018. You will be able to buy the book from this website and at the 2018 Manang Races, which will be held on Saturday, October 13.