NEAR perfect conditions boosted the trackside experience at Murwillumbah on Tuesday, when the Tweed River Jockey Club hosted one of its most popular events, the traditional Melbourne Cup day races.
The mild spring weather and overcast skies combined to put on a great afternoon of country racing for the roughly 3000 patrons on hand to enjoy the festivities, fashions and live local racing.
In one of the early races, the Tweed Daily News maiden plate, Miss Honeyflow scored by half a length giving every indication there will be more wins in store for the lightly raced three-year-old filly. She had been finishing off her races nicely, previously, and the extra distance and local track provided the winning combination on this occasion. The baby of the field, she had to best a couple of promising types to break her maiden status, and it would be nice to see her back here during the summer.
In the feature Ellis & Baxter Solicitors & Attorney Cup, a Benchmark 45 handicap over 1530m, jockey Laura Cheshire guided Marlahn ($4) home by three-quarters-of-a-length from favourite Devlann and the fast finishing Strombo. Cheshire took a sit in the fast lane, just behind the leaders early on, before making a mid-race move. She kept her mount gunning for the lead as they approached the 800m peg and straightened in front, breaking the heart of potential challengers with a final spurt in the shadows of the post.
Trainer, Garry Schwenke, who made the three hour journey to Murwillumbah from Warwick, was jubilant, saying it was one of the gelding's best wins, and was eager to credit Cheshire for a handsome ride. "She couldn't have ridden him any better than that - it was a great win,” he said.
For Cheshire, who is based at Bundall racecourse on the Gold Coast, the Cup victory secured a winning double, a feat she shared with Brooke Ainsworth who took out the last two races of the day. Cheshire is a popular regular on the Northern Rivers racing scene, and has a knack for stringing together a few wins when hitting a purple patch of riding form. She rode a winning double at last year's local Anzac Day races.
The winner, Marlahn, is a five-year-old, and has now notched up three career wins plus four placings from 28 starts. His local record is near perfect, with a win and a second place from two outings. Schwenke said he will take his time in determining where to from here with the son of Daichi No, but a return visit to Murwillumbah in the near future would not surprise.
The Melbourne Cup day meeting was the first in a quick triple-header of late-spring and early summer events at Mur'bah racecourse, with two big TAB racedays scheduled on Friday, November 17 and Friday, December 8 (Christmas twilight).
Nominations for Friday's meeting close on Monday at 11am. One of the day's feature races will be a Benchmark 60 handicap over 1530m, as part of an eight event program.