Cyril Small rode favourite Vivaheart into first place in the feature Murwillumbah Landmark open handicap on Sunday.
Cyril Small rode favourite Vivaheart into first place in the feature Murwillumbah Landmark open handicap on Sunday. Stephen Senise

Vivaheart sets new track record at Murwillumbah races

It was a day to reminisce at Murwillumbah racecourse on Sunday when about 500 patrons took advantage of overcast skies and cooler temperatures to enjoy a break from recent heatwave conditions.

In the second event of the day, veteran of the Murwillumbah track Cyril Small rode $2.70 favourite Vivaheart into first place in the feature Murwillumbah Landmark open handicap (1530m).

A new track record of 1:31.37 was established after eight year old Vivaheart came away from competitors as they cornered to score as he pleased.

It was another victory to add to Small's career tally which stands north of 1500 winners.

Small is best remembered as champion Vo Rogue's old racing partner after the horse and rider combination took out a string of Group and Listed events during the 1980s and early 1990s.

The Queensland equine icon had his last outing under the gaze of the racing public at an official track gallop during the Murwillumbah Cup carnival of 1991. Fittingly, Small was in the saddle.

Yesterday's meeting brought to a close another era, when it bid farewell to Alan Leslight the chief starter of races conducted in the Northern Rivers Racing Association area. In recognition Leslight had race six on the card named in his honour, and retires after officiating at the barriers for the past 36 years.

After three meetings in the space of little over three weeks, jockey club officials now turn their attention to Murwillumbah's next race day on 25 February.

TRJC secretary-manager Rachael Elliott said the jockey club is enjoying hosting its summer racing program.

"We've got another meeting coming up next month and we're looking forward to doing it all again.

"The weather and the racing surface have really come to the party, the result of which has been to see race record times and some great quality racing.

"We continue to get a big response from connections wanting to race at Murwillumbah, and from racing fans turning up to the races in good numbers and by keeping tabs on the local racing scene off-course when they can't make it to the track."

The TRJC's new website can be viewed at tweedriverjockeyclub.com.au or by going to the jockey club's Facebook site.



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