The Glen Innes Cup is set down for this Saturday

Don Cameron's first Glen Innes Cup with with Grafton Boy, owned by Elsie Sheedy.
Don Cameron's first Glen Innes Cup with with Grafton Boy, owned by Elsie Sheedy.

A mountain of nominations are in, marquees are set up and it is all systems go as the Glen Innes Jockey Club prepares for the biggest day on their calendar - Cup day.

Up to 14 horses will launch out of the starting gates in the 1400m Glen Innes Cup race on January 8 with owners, trainers and jockeys vying for the prestigious trophy.

One former trainer who knows how hard it is to "bloody win" a Cup race is Glen's Don Cameron.

Cameron won three Cups in his career as a trainer.

The first was with Grafton Boy in 1980.

He won again in 1984 with Kairos before a memorable win in 1995 with Billibonic.

Cameron's career began with racehorses in the 1960s after a lotto win.

"There was a mare down here in a paddock, a thoroughbred mare, registered and everything," Cameron said.

"She belonged to old Bob Law, Barry Law's father.

"I had my eye on her and did a bit of a sniffing about.

"I went and saw old Bob. He said 'yeah I will sell her to you.'"

From there, Cameron took her to local bridle meetings to run in two races.

"She would win the two races, I used to train and ride her," he said.

"The king of Dundee, he hadn't been beaten in years, he got beat once I got out there."

The 1995 Glen Innes Cup, won by Billibonic

The 1995 Glen Innes Cup, won by Billibonic

Cameron then formed a partnership with his employers, Col and Elsie Sheedy.

"Col and Elsie disappeared one week and when they came back, he said 'we went to the Scone yearling sales yesterday,'" Cameron said.

"He said 'yeah, we bought a yearling and you will have to break him in.'

"I broke him in and we won about six races with him. That sort of started it."

That first horse, Peter's Jewel, was the first of a career-long partnership between Cameron and Elsie Sheedy.

She owned all three of Cameron's Glen Innes Cup winners.

Kairos won the 1984 Cup

Kairos won the 1984 Cup

The first victor in 1980, Grafton Boy, was special for the trainer with his son, Peter, the jockey.

"That was his 18th win, that one. He won a few," Cameron said.

"Not the cups around here but he won a couple of handicaps around Grafton."

Four years later, he had another with Kairos when the five-year-old limped home to beat Kidman by two-and-a-half lengths.

"Kairos was a horse that was on three legs. I had to nurse him along a little bit," Cameron said.

"But he was a good horse."

He proved that statement correct the following year by taking out the neighbouring Inverell Cup.

"Kairos, he won that Inverell Cup and he led all the way in that Inverell Cup," Cameron said.

"He led from barriers to bobs.

"They never looked like getting him in that last bit."

Cameron's last Glen Innes Cup came in 1995 when Billibonic beat country racing NSW legend Akwazoff.

"I would not take it Akwazoff, and I could train a little bit, I wouldn't take him on many days of the week," Camerons said.

"He was a real good horse."

But he took him on with Billibonic and won.

Akwazoff's heavier weight at 58.5 kilograms to the Glen Innes horse's weight of 54kg proved the difference.

The Tamworth-based horse aimed for the lead heading up the hill and when they hit the straight, Billibonic was there.

Cameron said the lighter weight after the hill gave the gelding the advantage he needed to win by one length.

Although Cameron as since retired as a trainer, he is still an avid follower and involved at the local racecourse.