BERNIE Of Babylon and Good Job Bro will fly the Northern Rivers flag in the feature race at the Lismore TAB meeting on Monday.
Acceptances for the $20,000 Classic Wallabies v Barbarians Lismore Open Hcp (1400m) fell away yesterday, with just eight of the 14 nominations holding firm.
And when the topweight Divine Service was an early scratching, it left only seven runners in the field.
The weather obviously played a big part.
The track was rated a Heavy 9 yesterday and with more rain forecast for the weekend it could be a real slog if the Lismore Turf Club does race a good seven- event program.
Club secretary-manager Scott Jones is hoping the track might improve.
"It was a Heavy 9 but will move to a Heavy 8 in the morning,” Jones said.
"I've been quite surprised with it. The track is a lot better than I thought it was going to be. However, there is rain forecast.”
He said it was disappoint- ing to see the Open Hcp fall away but knows that is all part of the job.
Bernie Of Babylon and Good Job Bro, trained at Murwillumbah by Stewart Campbell and Matthew Dunn respectively, hold the local interest against a pair of Bruce Hill-trained Gold Coast horses, Bodega Negra and Liberty Island, a Beaudesert raider in the shape of Rodney Hurley's War Jet, Brad Witt's gelding Legal Waves and the Hunter Kilner Grafton-trained Splinter, which won the Bowraville Cup three starts back.
Bernie Of Babylon, an eight-year-old gelding son of Bernardini, has won eight of his 67 starts for $141,310 in prizemoney.
He has had seven runs at Lismore for a win and a second and was fifth to Spirit of Husson at Lismore during the cup meeting last month.
He carried 59.5kg after Cejay Graham's 2kg claim last time and drops to 54kg with Kasie Stanley aboard and barrier one.
He has won in soft going but never heavy while the Matt Dunn-prepared Good Job Bro has won on a heavy track and been placed twice.
The seven-year-old gelding son of Choisir is yet to win over 1400m and goes from barrier three with Robbie Fradd to ride.
With no further scratchings the club would have 71 runners for the seven races on Monday.