Ballina Cup winner Brilliant Ween.
Ballina Cup winner Brilliant Ween.

Brilliant win for Brilliant Ween

GOLD Coast-trained gelding Brilliant Ween has put in a solid claim for the upcoming Casella Wines Murwillumbah Cup after a stylish victory in Friday’s Christmas Cup at Ballina.

The win guarantees him a start in the Tweed River Jockey Club’s premier race of the year, to be run over 2000 metres next Monday.

Brilliant Ween’s win in the 1900m Ballina event was all the more noteworthy for beating recent $60,000 Lismore Cup winner Hecentadove, who failed to run a place on his home track.

After sitting just behind the leaders until approaching the turn, apprentice Kelly Gates shot Brilliant Ween forward to challenge for the lead, moving away easily on straightening to win by a handsome three-and-three-quarter lengths.

Trainer Paul Facoory has confirmed he intends to start Brilliant Ween in the Murwillumbah Cup.

“That was one of the reasons to head to Ballina,” Facoory said.

“I rated him a big chance before the race, especially given the weights, and he was able to do the job nicely.”

After the race, jockey Kelly Gates said she considered Brilliant Ween a real contender for the Murwillumbah Cup and was impressed with his winning performance.

“He had them covered all the way, and ended up doing it easily,” Gates said.

“He’s still learning and can be a bit of a goose at times, but he keeps getting better and stronger, and just keeps on improving.

“The penny’s dropped now, and he loves to race.”

The five year old has had 27 starts for five wins and seven placings, and has earned nearly $50,000 in prizemoney.

The Murwillumbah Newmarket is the other feature event on Murwillumbah Cup day.

Tumbulgum-based trainer Wendy Roche said she is likely to nominate handy six-year-old gelding Askew.

Askew has been putting in some nice performances in Brisbane since returning from a spell, includ

ing an honest first-up effort at Eagle Farm last month.

He followed that up with a dashing third in the $45,000 T. H. Cock Class 6 Handicap at Doomben after sharing the lead for most of the race, but disappointed at Eagle Farm on Saturday in conditions which weren’t ideal.

Roche rides Askew at morning track work at Murwillumbah, and said winning the Newmarket would be a feather in the cap for any local trainer.

“The Newmarket’s held in high regard here,” she said.

“Askew would have a natural home-ground advantage, and he only lives around the corner.

“He’d be dropping back from 1400 to 1200 metres, but if it looks like he’s pulled up all right I’m keen to nominate him.”

TRJC officials are reminding connections that nominations for next Monday’s Murwillumbah Cup meeting close with the Trainers Service Centre at 11am tomorrow.

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