Jockey club 'blown away' by nominations for Cup day
BALLINA Jockey Club's decision to move its Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup to a January date from its normal September timing paid off on the horse front today.
The club received a huge 225 nominations for Friday's eight-race TAB Showcase meeting, 37 of them in Friday's feature, the $67,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m).
BJC general manager Matt Bertram was ecstatic with the massive response to the new Cup date.
"They are crackin' noms," Matt Bertram said.
"Brilliant. An excellent response and a credit to RacingNSW for all their innovations especially the Showcase meetings.
"The response to all eight races has been outstanding but especially the Cup... 37 in the Cup is fantastic, I'm blown away. It should be a great day. We also had 12mm of rain over the weekend. Just perfect, didn't need any more or less."
He said "looking at the Cup noms" makes for interesting reading with local runners, Queensland horses and gallopers from inland and coastal NSW making up the 37.
"The final field makeup will be interesting, could be a couple of good horses will miss out," he said.
"We can run 14 with four emergencies."
Heading the "local" runners is Lismore mare Queen Of Kingston.
She had 63kg and a bad barrier at Coffs Harbour on Sunday but finished strongly to be nosed out of second behind impressive The Drake in the Pink Silks Cup (1205m).
"She was fantastic," Matt McGuren said after her valiant third in the feature race.
"She'll only improve on that."
The mare has won eight of her 28 starts for Lismore trainer Daniel Bowen and more than $213,000 in prizemoney.
Ballina trainers Steve Phelps, Stephen Lee, Terry McCarthy and Julie Pratten have all nominated runners.
Phelps has nominated My Cousin Jackie and Kitteau while Lee has entered Ballina Summer Cup winner Nothingforthepress and Spiral.
McCarthy has Foxy Walk nominated and Julie Pratten has I'll Miss You.
Coffs Harbour Cup winner Bodega Negra (Bruce Wilson) and Lismore Cup winner Kuttamurra Al (Lindsay Hatch) are also part of a strong Queensland contingent including three of Chris Munce's team - Lucky Jackson, Sky Lake and Smartypy - and Marcus Wilson's pair - The Equalizer and Fanx.
Weights for Friday's Cup should be out by 4pm Tuesday with acceptances closing 9am Wednesday.
The Slipway Hotel will conduct the Cup Calcutta Thursday night, starting around 6.30pm.