IT was the Roma Cup that had everything: passion, drama, wild weather, big crowds, distraught losers and ecstatic winners.
A huge thunderstorm passed through Roma around 4pm sending fans scurrying to the stands and the runners in Race 5 back to the sheds as it was considered too dangerous to race.
The big race of the day was delayed by more than half an hour but it didn't bother Toowoomba hope Blow a Kiss which took the $50,000 Roma Cup to the delight of its connections.
The joy on jockey Adam Best's face was in stark contrast to veteran jockey Lyall Appo who rode the Barry Baldwin-trained Musashi of Mexico to second in the big race.
After dismounting, an inconsolable Appo was slumped over a barrier with head bowed as he struggled to contemplate how close he came to winning.
But there were plenty of winners too with many of the 8000-strong crowd blowing kisses as they celebrated the victor of the cup.
There was drama earlier in the day when local favourite for the cup and last year's champion Dancefloor Prodigy was ruled out with an infection that developed overnight.
Trainer Craig Smith was mystified as to the cause. "Mate, if I knew what happened, I would tell you," Mr Smith said.
The quality of the fields was boosted by the record $165,000 prize money on offer with the day being the first event in the Queensland Government's new Showing Country Racing series.
Racing Minister Steve Dickson said the series was part of a $4 million commitment to reinvigorate thoroughbred racing in regional and rural Queensland.
"This boon for racing in Roma has brought racegoers in from all over the region, and has important flow-on effects for business in the local community, as well as helping our struggling racing industry," Mr Dickson said.
"The fact the meeting is on SKY Channel and Radio TAB is a great boost for the club."
Turf club president Ranald Ferrier said it was wonderful to see so many people on the track and all so well-behaved.
Bassett Park would also have been the most glamorous place in Queensland on Saturday with ladies and gentlemen all dressing up and a bumper turnout for Fashions on the Field.
Thousands stayed on to dance the night away at the after-race party with Rockhampton indy-folk band Busby Marou the headline act.
The huge crowd was well behaved with Roma Police reporting no major incidents on the day.
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