Ballina Cup snub
BALLINA trainer Kevin Nipperess is upset his defending Ballina Cup (1600m) champion All Our Way has been left as a fourth reserve for tomorrow's $50,000 race following acceptances yesterday morning.
The 73-year-old trainer was supremely confident his eight-year-old miler would stand at the starter's gate tomorrow afternoon in an attempt to defend its title, despite indifferent form following last year's cup victory.
However, Racing NSW thought different and the former Hong Kong-based galloper, which has won more than $400,000 in prizemoney, was left in reserve.
“I'm devastated,” Nipperess admitted yesterday afternoon.
“I can't believe that a horse that has won the Cup and $400,000 can't even get a start.
“I can't believe it.
“I've had a lot of calls from people who can't believe it and from local trainers who think it is unbelievable.”
Nipperess is unsure on what to do with All Our Way after he had specifically prepared the horse for the Ballina Cup.
“It's up in the air now,” he said.
“If I take him to Lismore (Lismore Cup on September 23) he needs to have a run before that so I may have to take him to Brisbane.
“It's not ideal but I'm going to have to weigh it all up now but I, the owners, everyone is just devastated.”
Nipperess believes he is the victim of a benchmarking system implemented by Racing NSW which is not popular with most trainers.
Each thoroughbred is rated against a benchmark, when the horse is yet to win a race it is very low but the benchmark raises as any horse wins.
However, if a previously successful horse does not win for a while, as is the case with All Our Way, their benchmark also drops.
Complicating All Our Way's case is the fact that the Ballina Cup field is one of the strongest for some time.
Queensland entrants dominate the top-weights including Rightson (Barry Baldwin), Shuffle the Cash (Bryan Guy) and Cocktail Supreme (Pat Duff).
In all, seven Queensland runners have been entered in the starting 14.
However, there is still a tiny hope All Our Way may run – if there is rain.
“I was talking to a friend of mine and said the only possibility of us running would be if the track went from a dead four to a heavy eight,” Nipperess said.
“That's the only possible chance of getting a run but I don't think that will happen.”