Jockey club secretary-manager Rachael Elliott and local trackwork-rider Isabella Rabjones with runner Persian Book (trained by Darren Graham at Murwillumbah).
Jockey club secretary-manager Rachael Elliott and local trackwork-rider Isabella Rabjones with runner Persian Book (trained by Darren Graham at Murwillumbah). Stephen Senise

Forget vampires, twilight is for racing in Mur’bah today

TODAY'S Twilight Christmas meeting at Murwillumbah has proven so popular owners and connections Racing New South Wales has added an extra event to what is now a packed nine-race program.

"We've had another very big response - when nominations closed on Monday we had 150 thoroughbreds keen to go around," jockey club secretary-manager Rachael Elliott told My Daily News.

"That's whittled down to 109 starters and emergencies after acceptances were declared but even then provisions have been made to include as many runners as possible."

In consultation with the Tweed River Jockey Club, racing headquarters in Sydney have decided to split one of the original events, an 1800m class 1 handicap which becomes races five and six due at 4.12pm and 4.52pm respectively.

In race five, the Tursa Class 1 handicap, top weight Chasing The Sun is set to return to form after a couple of shockers.

Racing at Murwillumbah can be an acquired taste so as a previous on-course winner he is ready to bounce back. Chasing The Sun scored here three starts ago on Melbourne Cup day and is by super sire Encosta De Lago.

Lotus Eater is another with a recent win under his belt, having won at the Sunshine Coast in October.

He was runner-up at his next run in Bundaberg and has been unlucky not to have notched-up a few more wins in his eighteen run career.

In race six, the P. Smith & Son Real Estate Class 1 handicap, local trainer Darren Graham prepares Persian Book (pictured) who narrowly missed out here on Melbourne Cup day, running a fast finishing third over 1530m.

Graham said before that race that his charge was looking for longer, so he looks well suited by today's 1800m distance.

The feature race is the Murwillumbah Truck Centre Christmas Cup (1530m), due to kick-off proceedings at 1.42pm.

Local trainers Matt Dunn and Darren Graham prepare Colour Me Grand and Originate respectively. Another with a chance is Lassila prepared at the Gold Coast by Bryan Guy. The five year old mare won at Ballina two starts ago and wasn't disgraced in a tougher affair at Eagle Farm last start.

Rachael Elliott says it's not just the ponies that will attract punters and patrons to tomorrow's races.

"A twilight meeting is a bit special at this time of year, and together with sponsors XXXX we've tried to make it as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.

"We'll have a local band playing from 7-10pm, and XXXX have prepared an on site beer garden, with prizes and give-aways during the course of the afternoon and evening.

"We have organised buses to and from the racecourse, with timetables and details available at our website.

"So it might just be the case of grabbing your work mates and wandering down to the races as part of the office Christmas party celebrations."

Murwillumbah racecourse will be hosting four race meetings over the course of the summer: today's meeting, plus December 29, January 5 and February 25.



‘Not every day we get a train in our backyard’

Premium Content ‘Not every day we get a train in our backyard’

“I just can’t believe it.” Freight containers strewn over equestrian centre.

'Fearing catastrophe': Dangerous goods on derailed train

Premium Content 'Fearing catastrophe': Dangerous goods on derailed train

Among the carriages of the freight train, stretching almost 1500 metres long, were...

Heroic locals step up as flash floods hit

Premium Content Heroic locals step up as flash floods hit

‘People were caught off guard’ - heroic locals stepping up across the region.