Racing breaks out at Ballina
By GRAHAME TIMBRELL
JEROME Hunter says the excitement is obvious among trainers as they prepare for today's closed meeting at Ballina the first local meeting since the equine influenza lockdown last month.
Punters will not be admitted and trainers, jockeys, stable hands and essential race day staff will have to go through stringent control procedures before being allowed on course.
"It is exciting and I know that everyone who trains at Ballina feels the same way," Hunter said.
"Life has been so boring since the lock down.
"We have been doing the same thing every day but without having race meetings to aim for it sometimes seemed a bit pointless.
"All the trainers here really appreciate Ballina's efforts to get this meeting on."
Hunter has booked high-profile Newcastle jockey Allan Robinson for three of his runners including Sansaba in the Carlton Draught Open (1250m).
"I was getting Sansaba ready for the Ballina Cup so it will be some consolation if she can win today," Hunter said.
"This is a pretty strong field but her fourth at Doomben at her last start was an incredible effort and she had to come from last at the top of the straight.
"I would love to know what she ran her last 400 metres in.
"Allan has not ridden a lot of horses for me but whenever we combine I usually come home with a winner."
Robinson's other two rides for Hunter are Tamaroa (Northern Star Maiden) and Baez (Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club Rating 64).
Robinson will also ride You Said for Paul Nipperess in the Westlawn Finance Maiden, the Andrew Pilling trained Sun And Sand (Williams The Shoemen Rating 65) and Avissan for Danny Bowen in the Ballina Alarms Rating 64.