Nipperess backs call

VETERAN Ballina trainer Kevin Nipperess has readily endorsed the comments made by Professional Investment Services (PIS) boss Tony Mulligan at the Ballina Boxing Day races.

As reported in yesterday's Northern Star, Mulligan and his company sponsor a myriad of sports on the Northern Rivers particularly racing and the PIS manager made it clear he was unhappy that the Ballina meeting which attracted more than 4000 people was a non-TAB race day.

During the presentation of the Open Handicap Cup which PIS sponsored Mulligan said: "I urge any Northern Rivers Racing committee members to bring it up with NSW Racing. There would be a lot more horses here if it was a TAB meeting."

A non-TAB meeting meant there was less prizemoney and therefore less entries and lower quality racing at the best-attended Ballina meeting.

Nipperess is not against non-TAB meetings but he believes a marquee event such as the Boxing Day race day should be a TAB meeting with bigger prizemoney.

"I'm glad that he (Mulligan) had the gumption to say those things," Nipperess said.

"There's truth in what he said. I've been in the game for 50 years so I know what goes on.

"Our officials should have gone to Sydney and explained to them how many people come to the meeting. Instead we had races with five horses.

"It just nags me to see a meeting like that with racing like that."

Nipperess believes the Ballina Jockey Club missed a great day to showcase the sport.

"We've got to try and foster racing and we didn't do that with a program like that yesterday (Wednesday)," he said.

The winning prizemoney at Wednesday's meeting was barely enough to cover expenses for a horse for a month Nipperess said, making the racing almost worthless.

"The average trainer's bill for a month is $2000," the Ballina trainer said.

"Say you won a race (Wednesday) and you don't win another for quite a while, the owner says what are they doing this for.

"We've got to have non-TAB meetings because not all horses a capable of winning at TAB meetings but they have to be held at the right time."

Race Corp chief executive Jim Murphy said that TAB facilities were at capacity on Boxing Day due to 21 meetings across the country.

However, he said that local officials should make an approach and put a case to Racing NSW Country to see if the meeting could become a TAB event.

Meanwhile, there were few local trainers making the trek to Coffs Harbour today for their meeting.

The next racing at Ballina is a non-TAB meeting on New Year's Day.

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