Milestone moment for Ballina Cup winners
GRAFTON trainer David Campbell has won the $65,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup for the first time with eight-year-old gelding Melted Moments ($22).
It was also the first Ballina Cup win for 32-year-old jockey Michael Hellyer, who was coming off multiple wins at Doomben.
He mainly rides in Queensland now after he was based at Murwillumbah for part of his apprenticeship.
“Dave gave me one of my first winners,” Hellyer said.
“I’ve ridden a lot winners for him and it’s good to come back here.
“To be honest I haven’t had too many winners here, so to win the big one is a massive plus.
“I’m from Wollongong originally. I spent time at Port Macquarie before I eventually ended up at Murwillumbah.
“In that period I was getting rides for David and a lot of the local trainers here at Ballina.”
Hellyer might not have had too much luck at Ballina but Melted Moments has, winning three of his four starts on the track.
Campbell thanked Armidale trainer Paul Grills, who sent him the eight-year-old gelding after copping a suspension last year.
“I’ve only had him this preparation,” Campbell said of the gelding who has now won 13 of his 73 starts.
“He’s also placed another 17 times for almost $240,000 in prizemoney.
“Grills … did all the hard work ‒ I’ve just put the polish on him.”
Campbell may now head to Brisbane for a no metro wins race in a fortnight.
The Stephen Lee-trained Nothingforthepress finished second while Bryneich came third.
Lismore trainer Daniel Bowen had Queen of Kingston finish fourth while the Chris Munce-trained Smartypy ran ninth.
It was the second time since 2015 the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey had a runner in the Ballina Cup as a trainer.
“It’s always good to come back home and try to win one of the local cups,” Munce said.
“You have to have the right horse to bring at the right time.”
Munce only raced in the Ballina Cup once, with a fifth-placed finish on the Bevan Laming-trained Desert Chill in 1994.
He won the Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel in 1998.