Grazier from Manilla judges pres­ti­gious cam­p­draft­ing comp

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - COLUMN - . CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

JUDG­ING the War­wick Gold Cup is not a job Tom Army­tage takes lightly. The grazier from Manilla in New South Wales said he thought about it for a week be­fore ac­cept­ing the job.

“It was a very big hon­our when I was asked. I didn’t take it lightly, I thought about it for a while,” Mr Army­tage said.

“We haven’t been up (to War­wick) for four or five years. We nearly didn’t come be­cause it was dry and we were feed­ing.

“But I thought they prob­a­bly wouldn’t ask me again so I had bet­ter come and do it for the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Mr Army­tage said he was a bit ner­vous about judg­ing when the com­pe­ti­tion first started.

“I was awake pretty early Mon­day morn­ing,” he said.

“But once we got through the first 50 or so it’s been pretty good. There were 876 com­peti­tors. We were do­ing about 40-45 com­peti­tors an hour.” Mr Army­tage said he had judged other cam­p­draft com­pe­ti­tions around the Tam­worth area and knew what he was look­ing for in the com­peti­tors.

“I look for pres­sure and cor­rect­ness from the horses and the over­all ap­pear­ance of the run,” he said.

“That the horse isn’t shak­ing its head or any­thing.

“And the speed of the run as well.”

Mr Army­tage has been com­pet­ing in cam­p­drafts for 25 years.

“We go to six or eight cam­p­drafts in a nor­mal year,” he said,

“But it’s been so dry in the last 12 months we haven’t been able to go any­where at all.”

Mr Army­tage said his prop­erty had re­ceived some rain in the past two weeks.

“We have breed­ers down at Manilla,” he said.

“We’ve had about three inches of rain in the last fort­night. It should be look­ing pretty good by the time we get home. I’m pretty keen to see what it looks like when we get home on Sun­day night.”

PHOTO: CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER

GREAT EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Tom Army­tage from Manilla judged the War­wick Gold Cup this year.

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