Jacks part of the family
By ADAM HICKS email@example.com IN the sport of kings, Waterford Jack is more like a brother than racing royalty.
He’ll start the $8000 Billinudgel Hotel Rating 78 Handicap (1300m) at the Ballina Jockey Club tomorrow an unknown quantity, but to hobby trainer Neil Cormick, he’s much more than an each-way chance.
The five-year-old gelding is part-owned by Neil’s brother, Tony, and is trained out of the one-horse stable behind Neil’s North Lismore home.
“He’s more than just a runner,” Neil said. “He’s part of the family. I only have to walk down the back stairs and he starts bellowing at me.”
The races at Ballina tomorrow will be Waterford Jack’s first start since winning at Murwillumbah on August 6.
During the equine influenza outbreak, the 17-hand horse was quarantined within Neil’s property.
“It was three months before we could even get him to a track,” Neil said. “We couldn’t even take him out through the gate. He only had three starts back before EI hit.”
After the enforced spell, Waterford Jack is still returning to full fitness and, rather than rush him back, Neil has waited for the right race.
“He enjoyed the break,” Neil said. “He has a lot of ability and he’ll push them.”
The feature race at the TAB meeting tomorrow, the $10,000 Matt Kidson Billinudgel Cup (1600m), has been named in honour of the popular 18-year-old who died in a car accident at Ocean Shores earlier this month.
Race sponsor Charlie Johnston of the Billindugel Hotel said two busloads of people were expected to travel from the village to Ballina.
“This is the day that Billindugel goes to the races,” she said. “It’s a great day.”