All roads lead to Ballina meeting
BALLINA Jockey Club returns to racing today with an eight-race program chock-a-block with runners despite a heavy track.
Five of today's eight TAB-covered races have emergencies and should start full fields with just four scratchings yesterday.
"We haven't had much rain at all, just three or four millimetres in the last week. (We) seemed to have dodged any of the rain around us,” chief executive Matt Bertram said. "It's going to be a Heavy 8 but a good winter track and it's a good meeting too - just depends on what happens overnight.”
Bertram said the club did have seven races programmed but had "split the benchmark 65”.
He believes the first division of that might be the stronger of the two ,with topweight Neurum Road one of the main chances.
"He has got to be a good chance,” he said of the Robert Pilling-trained gelding who has won 10 of his 55 starts.
Neurum Road, the eight-year-old son of Red Dazzler, has won five of his 10 Ballina starts and he has drawn well in barrier seven with apprentice Carla Dougherty to claim 3kg off his 64kg impost.
One of the main dangers is the Gold Coast-trained Biagiotti.
A four-year-old chestnut mare, she is trained by Bryan Guy and his son Daniel. She has won four from 28 but has a win and a second in three starts at Ballina. She has drawn out in 12 but in-form apprentice Corey Bayliss will claim 1.5kg off her 57.5kg weight.
In the other benchmark 65, the Lismore Flood Appeal Benchmark 65 Handicap (1300m), former Sydney mare Lolly Shoppe kindles great interest.