ESTEEMED Ballina bookmaker Jim Dougherty has installed two Queensland raiders as equal favourites for the $50,000 Coolmore Iris Nielsen Ladies Invitation (1400m) at Ballina on Sunday.
Rags To Riches, a Group One winner in New Zealand trained by Liam Birchley, and Future’s Dream, a recent Eagle Farm winner trained by Steele Ryan, have been installed $4 favourites in Dougherty’s market with Ballina Cup winner All Our Way on the next line at $11.
A keen form student, Dougherty believes the withdrawal of Black Ink has played into the hands of the two top weights which are a class above their rivals but will only carry 56.5kg and 56kg respectively.
With two Group One placing’s behind Gai Waterhouse’s star sprinter Bentley Biscuit, Black Ink was slugged with top weight, but his subsequent withdrawal has left the field compressed.
“I think the two Brisbane horses are really well in at the weights, if they were racing up there they would be giving this bunch a lot more,” Dougherty said.
“It’s not to say they can’t be beaten but they certainly look the most likely of the runners.”
The Kevin Nipperess-trained All Our Way is sure to have plenty of local support being trained on track but Dougherty has pointed to his recent form as a warning to punters.
“His was a great run in the Ballina Cup but he hasn’t gone real good since then,” he said.
For a roughie in the race, Dougherty looked for a jockey who might be able to lift a horse over the line.
“I had Grand Corso around $40 but when she drew Libby Hopwood to ride I had to wind her in,” he said.
Grafton-based Grand Corso has been posted at $20 with the South Australian hoop aboard.
Meanwhile, Ballina Jockey Club is expecting one of the biggest days of its racing calendar as the New Year carnival comes to a close.
The nine race program begins at 1:20pm with the feature at 4:55pm.
More than 150 runners have accepted in the clubs first TAB meeting of the year.
BJC will officially launch the Lady Jockeys Hall of Fame with the announcement of three inaugural inductees.
Former taxi driver Joe Janiak will accompany his retired sprinter Takeover Target to the track; the international superstar will canter past the grandstand as part of his farewell tour.