Big field heading to Ballina
GOLD Coast trainer Toby Edmonds has won one country cup with Our Boy Nicholas and hopes to score a second with the six year old in tomorrow's $65,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m).
The cup has drawn a field of 18 with four emergencies while the co-feature, the Spill The Beans Standing At Aquis Farm Newmarket (1250m), has drawn a field of 16 including two emergencies.
There are 122 acceptances for the eight race program and is by far the biggest and most competitive cup day program Ballina has run.
Slightly more than half the runners are from Queensland stables and Brisbane trainer Chris Munce, who will have three runners including Boris Badenov in the Newmarket, said he was not surprised.
"The prize money is too good to ignore and it is even better if you have a BOBS qualified horse," Munce said.
Tomorrow's meeting has been given Showcase status by Racing NSW with prize money boosted accordingly.
Our Boy Nicholas, who is BOBS Extra qualified, has not won a race since Coffs Harbour but Edmonds cautioned against taking that into account.
"We tried to turn him into a middle distance galloper and target the Stayers Cup at the Gold Coast in January," Edmonds said.
"However we have come to the conclusion he is a 1600 metre horse."
Edmonds was getting the horse ready for this year's Coffs Harbour cup but it was rained out.
"We ran him in a 1400 metre race at Eagle Farm as an after thought and while he ran second last it was a good effort," Edmonds said.
"He got caught on the inside and you can't make ground from there at the present time on that track.
"My one worry is whether my horse can handle Ballina because he does get back but there looks to be some speed in the race."
Edmonds will also start Shanzam in the Collins Hume Alexander Wunsch Anniversay Benchmark 65 (1900m) with Jeff Lloyd to ride the mare.