Noriyuki Masuda rode Torrens to its latest win at Port Macquarie.
Noriyuki Masuda rode Torrens to its latest win at Port Macquarie.

Crunch time when the nominations arrive for Ballina Cup

BALLINA Jockey Club’s decision to move its annual Cup meeting to a January holiday date will receive one of its first indicators tomorrow when nominations for Friday’s Cup close.

Nominations for the eight-race $280,000 TAB meeting close at 11am and general manager Matt Bertram is confident those entries will be strong.

“Fingers crossed,” he said of a decision by the club to shift from its previous normal September date to a mid-January timing.

Essentially the move is to take advantage of the high numbers of holiday makers in Ballina in January.

“It’s also a Showcase meeting and those meetings are also well supported too.

“We’re confident it will be well supported, not just because of the $280,000 in prizemoney but also for the $100,000 in BOBS as well.”

The $65,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m) is the feature race while there is also a $40,000 Country Only Maiden Handicap and six support races worth $30,000 each.

“We’re very lucky to have a Cup sponsor like the Slipway Hotel,” he said.

“They’ve been sponsoring the Cup for the last decade or so. They are a great sponsor.”

The Ballina Cup Calcutta, for which the club has already been selling tickets, will also be held at the Slipway Hotel Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Torrens surged to another victory at Port Macquarie on Friday to keep his unbeaten record intact and strengthen plans for a Derby start for the Ballina colt.

Torrens was midfield most of the journey and gave the leaders at least a dozen lengths as jockey Noriyuki Masuda had to work hard to spark the son of Adelaide up from the 600m.

“He’s a nice horse, goes real good. He doesn’t know how to lose,” Ballina trainer Ethan Ensby said.

Ensby has high plans for the colt with a Derby start highlighting those hopes for the three-year-old.

The win is also a good lead-in to the Ballina Cup for Ensby where he hopes to have a number of runners.

Bertram reckoned the win by Torrens is a great promotion for the club, sport and town.

“Torrens wasn’t entitled to win that race from where he was,” Bertram said.

“On that he might win a lot more and if he can stay and produce that final sprint well he could be a very nice horse.”

Torrens third successive win was a great result for not only Ensby and his owners but for the Ballina club as well.