READY: Jockey Matt McGuren waves to the crowd after winning the South Grafton Cup on Cogliere. He will ride Marokawa at Ballina today.
READY: Jockey Matt McGuren waves to the crowd after winning the South Grafton Cup on Cogliere. He will ride Marokawa at Ballina today. Adam Hourigan

New mission on a heavy Ballina track

MAROKAWA is on a mission at the Ballina Jockey Club TAB meeting today.

The Ballina-trained gelding, a four-year-old son of Swift Alliance runs topweight in the $20,000 countryracingsyndications.com.au Class 2 Handicap (1000m).

He is having his first run on his home track, which is rated a Heavy 9, for Ballina trainer Andrew Pilling.

Matthew McGuren, who was on board last start when he won a 810m Maiden at Coffs Harbour, reunites again and they will jump from barrier three.

"It was a good win,” Pilling said of the Coffs breakthrough. "Always good to win.”

Can Marokawa handle a heavy track?

"We'll find out tomorrow,” Pilling said. "That's his mission, to find out. If he can handle the Heavy 9.”

Marokawa is having his sixth start tomorrow.

He debuted with a seventh at Grafton, then ran a third and a fourth at Coffs before finishing fourth at Grafton and then winning over the short sprint distance at Coffs last time out.

"He's always showed a bit of promise,” Pilling said.

"He's always on a mission. Always tries, doesn't shirk his work. He's just a genuine little horse. I just hope he improves on that (Coffs win). At this stage he's very tractable and genuine.”

Pilling said he's drawn well with plenty of speed on and the fact McGuren has ridden him helps as well.

"He won on him at Coffs,” he said.

"He's aware of his antics and got a feel of the horse.”

Ballina Jockey Club secretary manager Matt Bertram said the Heavy 9 track won't improve but will race safely.

He believes local trainers such as Pilling and Steven Phelps might be celebrating as well.

Local trainers are also well represented when Lismore Turf Club stage a six-race TAB meeting on Saturday.

There are 71 horses nominated for that meeting with Lismore trainer Daniel Bowen entering eight of his stable for the meeting while Ethan Ensby, Steve Phelps, Stephen Lee, Dennis Dwane, Sean Hendry and Owen Glue also nominated runners.

Ballina trainers finished last week's Grafton July Racing Carnival impressively on Sunday with Julie Pratten winning the 3200m staying race with I'll Miss You while Ensby had runner-up Fencourt.



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