Early morning track workers are preparing for Sunday’s Murwillumbah Cup.
Early morning track workers are preparing for Sunday’s Murwillumbah Cup. SCOTT POWICK

Wet trackers eye Murwillumbah Cup

TRAINER Terry Walshe says “let it rain.”

With a wet track form boasting eight wins and twelve placings, the trainer of the aptly named Shadow Rein says his charge won’t be phased by a bit of moisture under hoof.

The seven year old mare is one of only two automatic qualifiers to have secured a berth for Sunday’s $33,250 P.Smith & Son Real Estate Murwillumbah Cup.

She took out last week’s 1905m Cup Preview at Ballina in a canter, leading all the way on a bog track.

Shadow Rein scored easing up by three lengths, to secure what her trainer described as a “decisive win”.

“But I’m not getting too carried away,” Walshe said.

“She couldn’t have had a softer win, and Tegan Harrison rode her to perfection - she had her over onto the rail before they were out of the straight and they were all stacked up after that.

“I couldn’t believe it - there was no speed, and half way through I knew they wouldn’t catch her.

“The wet track also contributed about 90% to the win, most definitely it did.

“I will nominate her, count on it, but she’s not much more than a 50-50 chance of coming up for the cup - there’s a local race here (Coffs Harbour) I’ve got my eye on too.

“She’s tough as teeth and she’s come up well after Ballina, so I’m weighing up the options - these mares once they hit form they keep it.”

Last year’s Murwillumbah Cup winner Bernie Of Babylon is the other horse to be exempt from the ballot for Sunday’s 2020m big race.

His wet form is nothing to write home about, though home turf advantage will be in his favour in any possible cup defence.

Acceptances for the race will be declared on Thursday, permitting form students with a definitive and much anticipated final view of the field.

Weekend storms have deposited 106mms of rain on Murwillumbah racecourse.

The racing surface has been recovering well in the fortnight since a major low pressure system deluged the east coast of Australia, dropping 130mms on the local track in about 36 hours.

Weather predictions are for mainly sunny conditions to race day and jockey club officials are confident of the track’s recuperative powers and that it will continue to improve to race day.

Focus now turns to nominations and Thursday’s acceptances. A Cup Calcutta luncheon will be held at Murwillumbah’s Riverview Hotel on Friday.

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