'Bonus' meeting in lap of the gods
BALLINA Jockey Club is hoping the rain stays away and allows the club to race a "catch-up” meeting next Wednesday.
Yesterday the club received 124 nominations for the rare Wednesday TAB meeting, which was to have been held at Murwillumbah but transferred to Ballina because of the flood damage on the Tweed.
Plenty of racing across the Northern Rivers association has been lost in the past month with Racing NSW switching the next Port Macquarie meeting to Kempsey and the Tuesday Coffs Harbour meeting postponed to this Sunday.
Murwillumbah was to have raced on Sunday but that meeting has now been transferred to Ballina on Wednesday in competition with the metropolitan meetings in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
That couldn't be helped, with heavy rain forecast for next Thursday and any rain falling at Ballina in the next week likely to be be disast- rous for the "bonus” meet- ing, according to Ballina club CEO Matt Bertram.
"We will be lucky to race if it does rain,” Matt Bertram said.
"We've put our hand up to take this extra meeting after we lost three meetings on the bounce ourselves.
"The NRRA has lost a number of meetings though and we're just hoping to race to help the struggling trainers and owners.
"But it just depends on the weather gods.”
The Ballina track was rated a Heavy 10 yesterday.
The seven-race TAB meeting has attracted strong nominations, with nominations for two races extended until 11am today.
The 2yo Hcp and the Open Hcp, both $20,000 sprints over the 1250m, have attracted 14 and 12 entries respectively.
Neurum Road, prepared at Ballina by Robert Pilling, is the benchmark top-rater in the open handicap.
The consistent eight- year-old gelding son of Red Dazzler was narrowly beaten in the Casino Beef Week Cup by She Tells Lies at his most recent outing.
He has now won 10 of his 57 starts including 17 placings while accumulating $118,690 in prizemoney for his Pilling family syndicate.