Ludwig?s hat-trick bid
By STEVE SPINKS
MUCH of the talk surrounding today's $20,000 Casino RSM Club Beef Week Cup (1400m) has centred on Ricky Ludwig.
Can he win three in a row?
The Beaudesert trainer has won the past two Beef Week Cups with Row Boat in 2003 and Sundae Jester in 2004.
Sundae Jester is Ludwig's only chance in the Cup and is the top-weight at 56.5kg.
But winning three in a row just became even harder, after Ballina trainer Dennis Dwane became involved.
Dwane has entered Armidale Cup winner Lunalana, which is one of the best performed Northern Rivers horses in the past few months.
The four-year-old mare has won five from her past six starts.
"She's a very good each-way chance," Dwane said.
"She hasn't raced out there, but her brother (Stella Ace) won six races there.
"Armidale (track) is up and down like Casino and you have to be fit to win."
Dwane puts Lunalana's red-hot form down to maturity.
"She was just too small," he said.
"But now she's maturing she's going from strength to strength."
The mare will be ridden by Dwane's wife Lorna Cook.
Dwane only recently renewed his training licence after he let it lapse and Ballina trainer Norm Williamson guided Lunalana to Armidale Cup success.
"I had a few things to do so I gave her to Norm Williamson, but he had to go Sydney so I give it to Dennis Watling," Dwane said.
"But then I thought 'bugger it', I'll get my licence back.
"I let it lapse because we had the kids and Lorna was riding."
Lunalana is owned by Armidale farmer Peter Viner and he has supplied Dwane with a variety of good stock over the years.
"We got her (Lunalana) as a yearling off him (Viner)," Dwane said.
"That's why we took her to Armidale.
"We've had about eight horses from him over the years that have won 40 or 50 races."
It's a nine-race card at the Casino Racing Club with the first to start at 11.50am.
The Cup will be run at 4pm.