Boxing Day races a winner for all
SYDNEY trained mare Argie Bargie took out the first race way ahead of the pack at the Boxing Day Races held at the Ballina Jockey Club.
Crowds wore high heel, thongs, baseball caps or fascinators, frocks and board-shorts, but the common denominator was a friendly atmosphere as old friends and new came together to celebrate at the races.
It didn't matter if you were drinking upstairs in the members or beer down on the lawn, the BJC welcome one and all to the action-packed race day.
On a soft track in the XXXX Gold Maiden Plate, the four-year-old chestnut trained by former grand-slam jockey Chris Munce and ridden by Jackson Morris, won by a convincing 6.5 lengths.
Argie Bargie won ahead of second-placed Queen Beatrice ridden by Steve Field and third-placed Bonny Brie ridden by Miki Nakao, to claim the $9,800 prize-money in the 1310m event.
First-time jockey, apprentice Leah Kilner, rode Middlebrook Miss for her father trainer Greg rode well and came in a respectable sixth place, ahead of some more experienced riders.
Race two the Slipway Hotel Maiden Plate over 1010m also worth $9,800 was won by Lansdowne Lass ridden by Ethan Ensby, with Green Cash in second and Mystic Skies in third place.
Anyone passing the men's jockey room at this time might have heard a cheerful rendition of happy birthday, as the athletes gave BJC clerk of scales, Simon Commerford his due.
The third race was over 1010m and Paroo River ridden by Leah King won ahead of Falsified with Craig Franklin on board to take out the David Hooey Electrical Class 2 Handicap for $9,800 with Dashing Win not living up her name and coming in third.
Race 4 was by far the most popular race of the day was the Farewell Jim Boardman Class 1 Handicap, named in honour of the highly-respected Ballina bookie who has clocked up an impressive 44 years at the track.
"I've had a marvellous time,” he said as he pencilled his penultimate bets.
The 1410m race was won by Capa Caylee ridden by M Paget, with the Munce-Morris team bring Fata Morgana into second place and Panned Out ridden by Brooke Stower in third place.
Race 5, the $10,000 Benchmark 50 Handicap was won by Our Boy Ben ridden by Craig Franklin with My Cousin Rhett ridden by Noriyuki Masuda in second and Ibeliveinmiracles with Melissa Cox aboard came in third place.
BJC chairman Greg Nash said it was a fantastic event with a well-behaved crowd.
"We have families picnicking on the lawn, members enjoying lunch and the public bar is jumping and everyone is in a convivial mood to celebrate,” he said.
"It's great to families and friends getting together at the races.”
BJC executive officer Matthew Bertrum said around 1500 people attended the meeting.
"We are now looking forward to summer racing and our next racing event on January 19,” he said.