Entries fly in for racecourse curator apprenticeships
WOLLONGBAR TAFE is to play an important role locally in the newly-introduced scheme to train apprentice racecourse curators.
Apprentices who are allocated to tracks at Murwillumbah, Ballina, Lismore, Grafton and Coffs Harbour will study sports turf management through Wollongbar and will regularly attend classes there.
"Wollongbar has an excellent sports turf course and it is the obvious choice," Dave Hodgson from Racing NSW said.
Hodgson is the Racecourse Maintenance Manager for Racing NSW and the architect of the new apprenticeship scheme.
More than 120 applications were received for the five apprenticeships being offered on the Northern Rivers and final interviews will be held in the third week of next month.
More than 600 applications were received state wide.
"We received some excellent applications including a number from people who will be doing the HSC this year," Hodgson said.
"If any of those people are successful we will allow them to complete the HSC before they have to start the apprenticeship."
While Hodgson was in the area he inspected the damage at Lismore race course caused by the recent flood and has submitted a report to Racing NSW.
The club lost nearly all its machinery and a claim has been lodged with Racing NSW Country for help to replace it.
"While I was in Lismore Scott (Jones) and I went out and bought a new mower so they can maintain the tracks," Hodgson said.
"Part of the rail on the course proper came down when the footings popped out but that can be repaired.
"The sand track is operational again by spreading the existing sand and more sand will be brought in to replace what was washed away while the B grass is back in use."
Bingo at M'bah
Bingo Bobby is likely to tackle tomorrow's Murwillumbah Cup in preference to the Tygalgah Cup on the same program.
Trainer Sharon Pepper accepted with him in both races but thinks the Murwillumbah cup might be the easier option.
"I think it is only going to be a small field and he is a horse that races best in small fields," Pepper said.
"There are two horses without riders declared and Tegan Harrison can only ride one horse."
Matt Dunn has declared Harrison on both Hollywood Barbie and Explosive One and obviously only one of them will start.
Bingo Bobby is the only Northern Rivers trained galloper, apart from Dunn's runner, that will contest the cup.
Pepper said his last start sixth in the Murwillumbah Cup Prelude at Ballina was a far better run than it looks on paper.
"He was too far back coming to the turn and made up a lot of ground," she said.
Queensland apprentice Amelia Denby will ride him for the first time.
"Her manager rang for the ride and I said I had never heard of her," Pepper said.
"However I thought she must be able to ride if she was down to a one and a half kilo claim so I did a bit of homework.
"She came over from New Zealand and is with Steve O'Dea and has ridden winners around the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast and one at Ipswich.
"This horse loves the wet and having only 52.5kgs on his back will be an added advantage."
Northern Rivers Calendar
Tomorrow Murwillumbah Cup (TAB), Thursday July 7 Grafton (TAB), Sunday July 10 Grafton, South Grafton Cup (TAB), Wednesday July 13 Grafton Ramornie (TAB), Thursday July 14 Grafton Cup (TAB), Sunday July 17 Grafton (TAB), Saturday July 23 Lismore (TAB).