Off and racing
A TRACK rating of good and a big nine race card awaits race goers at Murwillumbah today, when the Tweed River Jockey Club presents the Mooball/Burringbar/Crabbes Creek Banana Growers and Business Houses race meeting.
Racing NSW was obliged to add an extra two races to the original seven event program following a huge response from connections keen for their horses to race.
The first event of the day could see the breakthrough of Gold Coast-trained gelding Motive, who goes around in the Burringbar Sports Club Maiden Handicap over 1800 metres, due to get underway at noon.
The four-year-old has been placed in his last seven outings and has started favourite in his past six, but remains a maiden.
Prepost betting markets again have him down as one of today's race favourites.
Former jockey Gary Doughty, who helps his trainer wife Kelly Doughty prepare Motive, turns to humour when discussing the gelding.
“He'll probably go out favourite again, and he'll probably run a great race, but I'm starting to think he might not be all that interested in winning,” Doughty said.
At Murwillumbah 11 days ago, Motive ran a gallant second after coming home from the rear of the field over 1510 metres.
“We freshened him up for that last run as his BOBS eligibility was about to run out and we thought he could pull it off,” he said.
“But fair enough, 1510 metres was a bit short for him. The wide barrier meant he had to go back and be ridden from the tail.
“He only really got one crack at them which isn't ideal for a horse that's got only a 200 metre spurt in him. It was still a good run, and he should do well again.”
Other contenders include top weight Chapeaux and recently freshened-up gelding, Coral Flight.
Chapeaux has put in a string of nice runs over his last four starts and is trained at Casino by the canny Leo Clapham, while Coral Flight has been thereabouts at Toowoomba and the Gold Coast coming into the race.
Coral Flight is trained by Maryann Brosnan at the Gold Coast and his runs to date suggest he'll be coming home well at the finish.
The day's feature event is the Victory Hotel Mooball Cup, which should prove an open affair.
Top weight and overnight favourite, Magique Mine, comes into the 1510 metre Rating 62 handicap with a last start win on track.
The Ballina connection of trainer Sue Birney and rider Josh Jones team-up again, suggesting that a repeat performance could be in order.
However, a dicey barrier draw and a 60kg handicap will make it less than a straightforward affair.
Gather, by Octagonal, is another favoured contender racing in good form.
Trained at Beaudesert by Ray Nicholson, the six year old mare has put in a good performance on track before and likes the distance.
The number three barrier could prove very handy in a capacity field where inside runners have an upper hand.
Being still relatively fresh three starts into her current campaign only adds to her appeal.
Of the others, roughie Miss Devil Chaser could surprise.
She has won on track at her only attempt and the distance hurdle was surmounted last month when taking out a Rating 62 event at Lismore over 1510 metres. Her dismal performance last start at Grafton was probably due to the heavy track, so giving her another chance might be warranted.
Her rider, Adam Hyeronimus took out the just completed 2008/9 Northern Rivers Racing Association apprentices premiership and claims 1.5 kg.