By Geoff Newling
A mare that finished 13th in last year’s Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m) will carry topweight in Thursday’s $65,000 feature. Bodegra Negra, unplaced behind Yoho in last year’s Ballina Cup when she received 60.5kg, will have to carry 61kg in Thursday’s Cup after weights were released.
The daughter of Hidden Dragon, trained at the Gold Coast by Bruce Hill, carried 58.5kg when Jag Guthmann-Chester’s 2kg claim was taken off, has since won the Coffs Harbour Cup as well as an 1800m Gold Coast race and has been three times at Eagle Farm.
It’s a huge weight and will take a mighty effort by a seven-year-old mare who has won eight of her 60 starts for $381,815 in prizemoney. She is also one of three nominations from the Bruce Hill stable, the Gold Coast trainer also nominating Liberty Island (55.5kg) and Montrer Dame (54kg).
Queensland-trained horses dominate the top of the weights with the Robert Heathcote-trained Lordag copping 60.5kg and Brad Herne’s eight-year-old gelding, Allknight Saint, receiving 60kg. Lordag has won six from 37 starts and $303,000 in prizemoney while Allknight Saint has also won six races for $282,650 in prizemoney.
Grafton trainer John Shelton has six-year-old chestnut mare Cash Spinner nominated. She received 58kg, four kilograms more than she carried when narrowly beaten by Yoho in last year’s Cup. She drew wide (14) last year but has also since won the Krambach (at Taree), Kempsey and Maclean Cups.
At her last outing she was beaten five lengths by Mariquita at Rosehill on August 26. Shelton, fresh from winning the Moree Cup with Belflyer on Sunday had also looked at running that gelding in the Ballina Cup but thought the 1400m at Moree suited Belflyer leaving Cash Spinner to run in the Ballina Cup.
The mare has yet to win in two starts at Ballina but has won three times over the metric mile and Ballina Jockey Club general manager, Matt Bertram, thinks she might go one better this year: “She should have won last year,” he recalled. "Was very unlucky.”
He was unlucky too as he, and one of his directors, bought her in the Calcutta! That Cup Calcutta will be held at Slipway Hotel, Ballina from 6pm on Wednesday (6th September) starting what will be a mammoth Cup meeting.