By STEVE SPINKS
ANOTHER year same jockey.
This was the case at the $40,000 Carlton Draught Ballina Cup (1600m) yesterday as leading Brisbane jockey Glen Colless claimed back-to-back Cups.
Colless guided home the top-weight Beamer, trained on the Gold Coast by Mel Eggleston, to edge out favourite Alifly by a neck, with front-runner Planagram a further neck back.
Last year, Colless rode Arena Valadora to Ballina and Lismore Cups glory.
Whether he will get the chance on Beamer in Lismore later this month will depend on the handicapper.
But Colless was happy to claim the Cup for the second time at Ballina.
"It's always good to get back to the grass roots," he said.
"I love getting down to the Northern Rivers."
Colless was originally booked to ride Alifly, but he elected to go with Beamer when Eggleston gave him the option.
At the pre-race Broadwater Cup 11 days earlier, Beamer ran fourth with Newcastle jockey Allan Robinson on board.
It was assumed Robinson would again be in charge yesterday, but Eggleston opted for Colless.
"He should have won the other day (Broadwater) but it was an average ride," the Gold Coast trainer said.
"Colless was supposed to ride him in the first place but he didn't make up his mind.
"He's a classy jockey."
It was a nostalgic win for Eggleston. Ballina was the venue that produced his last career victory as a jockey, on Cup day many years ago.
Despite Beamer not having raced over 2000 metres, Eggleston is thinking about setting the nine-year-old for the Lismore Cup on September 22.
"There's a big chance I'll take him there," he said.
"It just depends on the weight he gets.
"It seems every time he comes to NSW he gets a hiding because of his past form."
Eggleston plans to nominate Beamer for Lismore and he will ring the handicapper leading up to the race before making a final decision.
Marring the finish to the Cup was the tragic death of Port Macquarie-based gelding Takas.
The six-year-old was pulled up short just past the post by jockey Adrian Robinson.
Takas laboured and Robinson had to jump from the saddle as the gelding collapsed less than 100 metres past the finish.
It's believed Takas suffered a heart attack.
It definitely took the shine off the Cup.
In a mighty contrast, as Eggleston and Colless were celebrating and being presented with their trophies by 11-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer Bart Cummings, who was a special guest at the race day, Takas was being carried off by the course tractor.