Ballina aims for Takeover Target
THE famed Takeover Target is set to take over Ballina as special guest at the Coolmore Iris Nielsen Ladies Invitation race in January.
Ballina Jockey Club CEO Sarah Wills said she spoke to Takeover Target’s owner and trainer Joe Janiak when he came to the Ballina Cup as a guest, and Janiak agreed to bring the champion sprinter to Ballina.
“He’s a good supporter of racing and he’s delighted to be coming here to Ballina,” Wills said.
“We’re very excited that Takeover Target and Joe are coming.”
While the finer details of what Takeover Target will be doing at the event are yet to be ironed out, Wills said the horse would be paraded around in the ring for all to see.
“He will attract some people to the races and will be an added attraction to the day,” she said.
Now retired following a hind leg injury while racing in England, Takeover Target has won 20 of his 41 starts, including eight Group 1 races.
He has netted over $6 million worth of prize money over six seasons and was awarded the World’s Highest Rated Turf Sprinter in 2006.
The annual invitational female-only race on January 24 honours Iris Nielsen, who was killed in a race fall in 1988.
This year the prize money has been increased from $27,000 to $50,000, matching the prize money offered in the Ballina Cup in a bid to attract the very best female jockeys and match the interest in the race shown by the community.
“There’s just been so much interest so it is going to be tougher to get a ride in the race,” Wills said. “We have already invited some of the more successful female jockeys, and will focus on more senior riders, even though there will be some apprentices in the race.”
Since the race’s inception, Wills said there were more females in the sport and BJC expected ‘record nominations’ for the race this year.
“There seems to be more lady riders joining the ranks,” she said.
“Every year that goes by the opportunity increases for them with more rides.”