RECORD prizemoney, ladies wearing marvellous headdresses and, most importantly, beautiful thoroughbreds will be on show over two days of racing beginning in Scone today.
The 2012 Scone Cup is the premier event of the two-day carnival, which has a total of more than $2 million in prizemoney and trophies.
For the second year, the Emirates Scone Cup Carnival, rated by Racing NSW as a metropolitan event, will be a stand-alone meeting.
That means it is the only "city" race meeting being held in NSW over the two days, says Scone Race Club chief executive Sarah Wills.
The status helps to attract top horses, trainers, turnover and crowds.
"Last year it was a great success with a crowd of about 8000 and a turnover of about $10 million," Ms Wills said.
"I think a lot of people are talking about Scone.
"With the massive prizemoney - probably the most at a country carnival in Australia - it brings the city to the country," she said.
Most of the time Upper Hunter trainers such as Rod Northam and their horses have to travel to the metropolitan courses to compete.
Mr Northam said the generous prize pool combined with Scone's reputation as a quality course of natural beauty drew Hunter entrants to enjoy a weekend on their home turf.
Mr Northam has five runners in the carnival, one of them Tinszelda in the two-year-old challenge.
"We get to run in our own backyard and that gives us an advantage," Mr Northam said.
"It is a great atmosphere because it falls at a good time for the local stud industry - it is the end of the yearling sales and before it has to crank up for the breeding season. We can relax and enjoy it."
He also praised the quality of the track.
"There is no better surface in NSW, it is wide and straight and gives every horse a chance," he said.
The Inglis Scone Yearling Sale will be held on Sunday at Scone's White Park.
Prizemoney for the Scone Cup is $180,000, the Inglis three-year-old Guineas has $500,000 up for grabs with the minimum pot for Saturday races $75,000.
Both the Scone Cup and Inglis Guineas will be run over 1400 metres and the Inglis Challenge for two-year-olds over 1100 metres.