Close Anzac Day race expected
THE sport of kings returns to Murwillumbah on Wednesday for the annual Murwillumbah Services Club Anzac Day races.
Always well patronised, the meeting is one of the Tweed River Jockey Club's biggest in its racing calendar.
Even at this early stage, the day's feature event is shaping up to be a competitive affair.
Thursday's close of nominations revealed the names of 16 thoroughbreds for the Murwillumbah Services Club Cup, a Benchmark 45 handicap over 1530m.
While acceptances will not be declared until Monday morning, the quality of the nominations pool is impressive.
Old campaigner Bradfield might have gone around a few times in his eight years - 79 to be precise - but the ghostly grey is still capable of getting through the mud to show his opponents a thing or two.
On a heavy track at Ballina last month, he came from midfield to post a 1.25-length win with Kevin Forrester in the saddle.
It was victory number 10 for the gelding, which has won $154,000 in career prize money.
"He was just too good for 'em," Bradfield's trainer Danny Bowen told the Daily News.
"Kevin had him up just off the pace, and swung round their heels into the straight and that was that pretty much.
"He's got a good record at Murwillumbah and he appreciates the wet, so he'd be well suited."
Bradfield's Murwillumbah record stands at a win and a second from two starts, both on rain-affected ground.
If Bowen races him, the veteran will be the top-rated horse under Racing NSW's benchmarking system, in which case the plan would be for stable apprentice Motoki Okada to take the reins, claiming 1.5kg.
"They'll weigh him out of it for a Benchmark 45 handicap but with Motoki's claim he should be back in contention," Bowen said.
A total of five races are programmed for Wednesday's meeting, most of them paying homage to Australian martial history.
Milne Bay, Gallipoli, and Maryang San (Korea) are names that feature prominently in the program.
In recent days jockey club officials were delighted to receive additional sponsorship support for the Maryang San (Korea) maiden handicap from club patron Dordie Graham, a Korean War veteran.
As always on Anzac Day, returned service personnel receive free entry on presentation of their badge.
A free bus from the Murwillumbah Services Club at 12.30pm and 1pm will take patrons to the racecourse, returning at 5pm and 5.15pm.