Bowen back on track for Ballina Cup
LACONIC Ballina trainer Danny Bowen appears big enough and tough enough to back up a boast.
He featured in the pages of The Northern Star last week proudly proclaiming his horse Cedar Manor was going to win Sunday's Byron Bay Cup.
It finished second.
But Bowen is not about to wipe egg off his face just yet.
He also boasted Cedar Manor was going to win next Thursday's Ballina Cup and his second placing on Sunday gains him automatic entry to that race.
“We are on track,” Bowen said.
“We finished second, not second last.
“It's hard to give excuses. Maybe the winner (Chinbok) was too fit on the day.
“We are still confident. Gee whiz, you are going to run second more times than you are going to win.”
Bowen believes Cedar Manor has a good chance over the 1600m Ballina Cup, particularly if rain falls between now and then.
“The horse improved on its run and it's just a matter of keeping him mentally up for it and if it rains, he loves the wet, so it is all systems go,” he said.
The Ballina Jockey Club is hoping that crowds will flock back to the races after last year's Cup was adversely affected by the outbreak of equine influenza which saw the date of the meeting change and the prize money reduced.
“It makes a big difference when you don't have any EI holding you back,” Ballina Jockey Club Chairman, Keith Morrow, said.
“Last year, because of the EI, the prize money was reduced to $20,000, for obvious reasons, and this year we have been able to get back to $50,000 whereas last year it should have been $40,000.
“Last year, a lot of people were very pleased that the Cup was able to be run.
“They wanted to come out and that's something we worked on with council to ensure it would happen.”
In the lead-up to this year's Cup, the club survived a scare after the Department of Primary Industries quarantined one of the stables near the racecourse after a horse displayed symptoms similar to the Hendra virus.
“You have got to take these things as they come, deal with them, and thankfully it hasn't come to anything in this area,” Morrow said.
“Everything was right and we were able to continue.”
A crowd of about 5000 is expected to attend the Ballina Cup meet which will feature an eight-race program and a number of interstate raiders attempting to trump a strong contingent of local trainers.
“That's the best thing about racing,” Morrow said.
“You get the competition and if you have the right horse on the day, you win the race.
“That's what generates the interest.
“Felixtrinidad won last year's race and I understand at this stage that he is backing up.
“He ran a very good race last Saturday and won in Brisbane so he is a very strong contender.”