First of five race meetings today at Murwillumbah
RACING returns to Murwillumbah today for the first of five meetings over the next 10 weeks, culminating with the running of the Murwillumbah Cup on June 26.
Last year's cup winner Bernie Of Babylon returns to the scene of the crime for the first time since he stole the event in the early stages of the gruelling 2020m race.
Prepared by Stewart Campbell on course, the now six-year-old will be racing in today's $15,000 feature 1530m Mt Warning handicap.
It will be Bernie Of Babylon's fifth run this preparation.
Home-turf advantage and a proven liking for the track should see him perform better than his most recent outings.
A runner's-up cheque at the Sunshine Coast nearly six weeks ago has been his best effort so far.
Murwillumbah-based trainers are enjoying a purple patch of form at the moment having taken out four of the seven events at the jockey club's most recent meeting in March, and another four at Ipswich on Wednesday.
Local horseman Matt Dunn currently leads the Northern Rivers Racing Association trainers premiership, and his charges took out three of the events at Ipswich during the week.
"The track is in great condition, currently rated a Good 4, with mainly fine weather forecast through to race day," Tweed River Jockey Club secretary-manager Brian Charman said.
"It recovered extremely well from the heavy rain received early in March and we couldn't be happier with the racing surface as well as the track's readiness going into the colder months.
"From a local point of view we are particularly happy to have a fully sponsored race program boasting some high profile Murwillumbah businesses - we are very aware of the importance of local sponsorship to country race tracks, so are appreciative of the support."
The seven event program gets under way at 1.10pm with gates opening at 11.45am.
The meeting will be followed by the club's traditional Anzac Day races on 25 April and will feature local band Fat Albert.