Murwillumbah Club to host annual twilight meeting
MURWILLUMBAH racecourse will kick off a busy summer program today when the Tweed River Jockey Club hosts its annual Christmas twilight race meeting.
In recent years the fixture has become a popular way of welcoming in the holiday season and celebrating office Christmas parties with live music on the lawns and an on-course beer garden.
Local talent at races
Local trainer Matt Dunn, who has taken out the past two seasons Northern Rivers premierships, will be well represented, with seven runners.
So too another Murwillumbah trainer, Carolyn Halliday, who has had five winners this season and has three runners in.
Other Murwillumbah trainers vying for a crack at the $120,000 prizemoney plus $40,000 in BOBS breeding bonuses are Darren Graham, Neville Boyle, Steven Phillips and Paul Robbins.
The program's two feature races are the Tweed City Cup (1530m) and the Banora Cup (1200m).
One of the day's more interesting betting affairs looks to be the third race, where the Class 1 Hcp (1800m).
Topweight Habsburg, prepared by Trevor Bailey on the Gold Coast, has had two runs back from a spell. He finished a close runner-up at his most recent outing when coming home late in a 1400m Class 1 on his home track.
Out of Group winning Redoute's Choice mare Viennese, the five-year-old Habsburg has gone around once before at Murwillumbah, when an unlucky second in a Class 3 staying event in April. He was quoted a $2.50 favourite in early betting markets, with his main rival Torpedo at $3.60.
Torpedo has gone close to saluting at his last two starts after taking out a 1400m Class B Hcp at Gatton last month. He is a Murwillumbah winner at his only local start and is trained by Bruce Hill.
The Bundall-based Hill knows a thing or two about racing at Murwillumbah. He prepared the 2011 Murwillumbah Cup winner, Warrior Within, and this year's 1800m Murwillumbah Cup Prelude winner, Vodnik, which suggest Torpedo may have picked up a few local pointers in his stable environment.
A roughie with a shot could be El Toby, trained on course by Paul Robbins.
He disappointed at his past two runs after noteworthy performances over a bit of ground at Lismore and Grafton. The five-year-old maiden runner drops back in grade here which should add to his home turf advantage.
Track in great shape
Tweed River Jockey Club secretary-manager Brian Charman said he had walked the track with Australian Jockeys' Association representative Mathew Paget last week.
Charman said they agreed the track was in great shape as a Good 4, having received 15mm of rain in the previous 36 hours.
The first race of the day is due to get under way at 2.03pm, with the last at 6.29pm.
Murwillumbah's next two meetings will be held in quick succession, on December 27 and January 3.