By Geoff Newling
RACE 1: Ballina and Lismore-trained gallopers had to settle for minor prizemoney when Ballina Jockey Club kicked off today’s meeting with the Slipway Hotel Maiden Handicap (1255m). Lismore trainer Daniel Bowen (Last Cigar) and Ballina’s Peter Youngberry (Panned Out) missed out on the minor placings when their horses ran fifth and fourth to Brisbane-trained Tevye. Lightly-raced four-year-old gelding Tevye started favourite and led all the way to beat Grafton-trained Airdale (Scott Henley) and Murwillumbah gelding Dragons Esprit. Larry Cassidy, who rode the first winner at last Monday’s Ballina meeting, was on the opening winner again and was delighted with the effort of Tevye, a son of Red Element. “He did a good job,” Larry Cassidy said. “He’ll get a lot of confidence from that, the 1400m will really suit him now.” Lindsay Gough trains Tevye at Eagle Farm and was delighted with his first win in four starts after running third at all three previous runs. “He had a fair bit of weight and the Heavy 10 was always questionable,” Lindsay Gough said. “He’s a quiet little fellow, shouldn’t be a maiden but hasn’t had much luck.”
RACE 2: Ballina Jockey Club had some International success today. Korean apprentice, Doyun Jung, won the second race of the day, the $20,000 Boxing Day Races @ Ballina Maiden Handicap (1255m) aboard the Coffs Harbour-trained mare Secrets No More. Trained by Brett Bellamy, Secrets No More, a daughter of Sequalo with two placings in nine previous starts, launched down the middle of the Heavy 10 track to beat Flying Machine and race favourite Odelia. “She went real well today,” Brett Bellamy said after the breakthrough win. “Her first-up run at Grafton was really good too.” He said the plan had always been to sit back and “let all the speed go” and then “swoop” late. “Love it when a good plan comes together,” he said. What he doesn’t love is the fact Doyun Jung, a 2kg claiming apprentice, is returning to Korea after a three-month spell. “It’s really good they come out here and get the experience,” he said. “They appreciate their time out here.” He and fellow trainers like Tamworth’s Sue Grills, who had Hyosik Lee for three months as well, have benefitted greatly. Jung rode two or three winners in his short time while Lee rode eight winners including a Coonabarabran Cup day double recently.
RACE 3: Solar Lady cruised to an impressive win in today’s $20,000 Woollam Constructions Class 1 & Maiden Plate (1605m) at Ballina. The Grafton trained mare, a five-year-old daughter of Reset, is prepared by Julie Pratten and has now won two of her 10 starts. Ray Spokes rode her today and thought she can only improve on the good win. “She’s a tough little thing,” Ray Spokes said. “Hopefully she’ll hold her form now. She did over-race a little mid-race but settled a lot better.” Julie Pratten said Spokes “held” her nicely early on before unleashing in the straight. “She does have a nice turn of foot,” Julie Pratten said of a mare she thinks will “get further”.
RACE 4: Dazzle Us Again kept his unbeaten Ballina record intact when the Gold Coast gelding led all the way to win today’s Tricare Hastings Point Benchmark 57 Handicap (1905m). The David Joice-trained five-year-old gelding son of Red Dazzler had won his only other visit to Ballina and made it four wins from 19 career starts when apprentice Jackson Murphy rode to the pre-race plan. “For this horse to progress he needs to be able to run a trip,” David Joice said. “Needs to be able to run out the 2000m.” He had told the 1.5kg claiming apprentice the gelding was on his last chance and not to “let him loaf”. Murphy, who has just moved north and transferred his indentures to Chris Anderson, rode his accordingly and was able to control the race out front. “That was the plan,” Jackson Murphy confirmed. “He travelled that well there was no point in slowing up.” The Ian Savins-trained Galliano was the only danger and the Casino-trained gelding surged late for a good second whilst another Casino gelding, Cantillate, ran on from the rear. Canitillate is trained by Casino butcher Stephen Bennett and was ridden by veteran jockey Cyril Small. Small and Bennett had combined to win the Tabulam Cup at Tabulam on Saturday, part of a Cup day double for the pair.