Murwillumbah heats up for race day
ACCORDING to local racing supremo Bernie Quinn, balmy summer conditions are good for racing. His current forecast is for a great day's racing on Friday when the Tweed River Jockey Club hosts its annual Mooball, Burringbar and Crabbes Creek Banana Growers and Business Houses race day.
With the mercury in Murwillumbah hovering close to 30 degrees or higher every day so far in 2012, chairman Quinn couldn't be happier.
"We've got a great day lined up with perfect conditions, and two not one, feature cup races being contested tomorrow," he said.
"The quality of the equines racing will be very good and we have capacity fields, or close to, for the majority of the program.
"The communities and banana growers of Mooball, Burringbar & Crabbes Creek are committed supporters of local racing and we're all set to enjoy a great day tomorrow."
The first of the feature cups is race six, the Tweed Valley Bananas Cup a Benchmark 55 handicap over 1200m. An open affair, the first line of early betting markets is being contested by Willyclang a recent Murwillumbah winner, Miss October who has also won on-course, and promising type Federer Express.
Pennycome Quick, quoted at tens, is another runner who comes into view after a couple of nice recent runs, including a second at Lismore at her last outing bar one.
The mare's trainer Robina Todd said her most recent run at Coffs Harbour four days ago was a lot better than it looked on paper. Finishing sixth of fourteen runners and less than a length and a half from the winner, the Lismore trainer said that interference in the last 50m of the race cost Pennycome Quick a top-two finish.
"The leader really came in on her in the last 20m to the line, and she was tightened - she couldn't be ridden out, but it was a great run otherwise," Todd said.
"She's pulled-up very well, and the only work she'll be taking part in now is the work she'll do herself in the paddock.
"She likes Murwillumbah, and I remember when I first got her she ran second over 1000m from the widest barrier, so she can get around it."
Todd summed up Pennycome Quick's chances with an optimistic note, pointing out that her charge had been, "knocking at the door for a while now".
Race seven is the Victory Hotel Mooball Cup a Benchmark 55 handicap over the stayer's journey of 2000m.
Local trainer Matt Dunn believes Skalatonic, which he stables at the former Racing Institute facility across the road from the track, has already proven his staying credentials.
Originally from Victoria, the four year old gelding won a 2300m Maiden at Ballarat about nine months ago, and is one of the early favourites in tomorrow's race.
At Skalatonic's most recent run, his first for Dunn, he was caught four and five wide for the entirety in a Class 2 affair over 1667m at Ipswich. For all that, the Murwillumbah trainer said he was impressed.
"He was entitled to finish a tailed-off last, but managed a midfield finish only about two-and-a-half lengths off the winner," he said.
"He stays well, and should finish over the top of them."
Other chances include topweight Marlu Gold, trained at Coffs Harbour by Brett Bellamy, and Uncle Heaven trained at Beaudesert by Greg Cornish.
The judge lets them go in the first of the day at 1.08 pm, with gates opening at 11.30 am.