Budding trainer kicks off career
BREAKING into the horse-racing business on the biggest day of the calendar can be a bit daunting, but a 21-year-old Murwillumbah trainer hopes to mark it with the beginning of a successful career.
Ben Rodgers will take part in his first race as a qualified horse trainer today when the Tweed River Jockey hosts its annual Melbourne Cup meeting.
Mr Rodgers and his horse, Theatricalshowgirl, will take to the field in the second race of the day.
“I broke her in as a two-year-old last year,” Mr Rodgers said.
“I would like to become a horse trainer in a metropolitan area like Brisbane or Sydney.
“It would be fantastic one day to make it to the Melbourne Cup myself. It’s the pinnacle of what I can do.”
The Tweed will join the rest of the nation with eyes glued firmly on televisions and ears on radios as the race that stops a nation gets under way at Flemington at 3pm.
But Tweed River Jockey Club chairman Bernie Quinn hopes to create his own Flemington atmosphere with a predicted crowd of 5000 people packing the grounds.
“It should be a full house. It’s going to be a great day,” Mr Quinn said.
“We have been busy putting the finishing touches on the marquees. The place is looking lovely and green.
“We’ve got buses coming from Tugun and all over the Tweed to bring people here.”
Mr Quinn said they were in for great conditions.
“The racing surface looks great,” he said.
The Tweed River Jockey Club will field a full program of six races on today’s program.
The annual Fashions In The Field parade will begin at 2.00pm.
The judges will decide the most appealing entries in best-dressed lady, best-dressed man, best Spring Carnival hat, best-dressed couple and best-dressed child under 13 years.
“More than 180 people entered last year,” Mr Quinn said.
“We are looking forward to a very successful day.”
Looking to the event at Flemington, Mr Quinn said his picks for the big race today were Daffodil, Viewed and Roman Emperor.
Riverlands Lodge owner Louisa Miller says besides the Melbourne Cup, everyone at Murwillumbah will have their eyes glued to the local races.
“It’s great to have some extra support from people who aren’t always involved in races.”
Ms Miller said her favourites for the big race are Roman Emperor, Viewed and Alcopop.
“It’s the hardest race in Australia to pick,” she said.
Gates at the Tweed River Jockey Club open at 10am, with the first race jumping at 12.50pm.