Michael Heagney rides Blooming Lily to victory in the 10005 metres Gold Maiden Plate at the Boxing Day Races in Ballina.
Michael Heagney rides Blooming Lily to victory in the 10005 metres Gold Maiden Plate at the Boxing Day Races in Ballina.

Big win at Ballina for Alstonville horse trainer

A TWELVE month project paid dividends for part-time Alstonville trainer Jennifer Smith at the Ballina Jockey Club TAB meeting.

Smith saw four-year-old gelding Harnova ($21) take out the $12,000 Benchmark 50 Handicap (1255m) yesterday.

It was its first win since April 2017, when it was trained under Neil Godbolt at Port Macquarie.

“I’ve had him 12 months and he’s been quite the project,” Smith said.

“But he’s a lovely horse and I was very pleased today.

“He was a bit disappointing last start so we thought we’d make a gear chance and it made a difference.

“We put the blinkers on and got the result we wanted, that will do a lot for his confidence.”

Smith has two horses in work with Harnova and four-year-old mare Deliya.

“I train at home and usually go a bit under the radar,” Smith said.

“I love it, I often pop up at the Ballina and Lismore tracks.

“It would be great to do it fulltime, especially if they keep winning.”

In other races, four-year-old mare Lady Clare ($3.50 favourite) won the $12,000 Class 2 Handicap (1005m).

It was the third win for Lady Clare and the first time Grafton trainer Wayne Lawson had linked up with jockey Leah Kilner.

“That was her first ride for me and a really good one at that,” Lawson said.

“It’s also the horses first win under new owners, so they’ll be really happy.

“Her couple of wins had been on soft tracks, the little bit of rain we’ve had probably suited her.

“The fields aren’t quite as good so I was pretty confident of a good run.

“It (Christmas present) came a bit late this year but at least we’ve got something to go home with.”

Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matthew Bertram was thrilled with the crowd number and said they had over 1000 punters come through the gates.

It is a short turnaround for the club with another TAB meeting on January 5.

The bigger prizemoney will be on offer when the Summer Cup runs on January 17.