Leading trainer secures award at Tweed track
RACE fans made their way to Murwillumbah racecourse on Tuesday to see the culmination of the Tweed River Jockey Club's (TRJC) three-meeting Summer Of Racing series, the first to be held in the Northern Rivers for 2017.
Despite unsettled conditions and the track having received six inches of rain in the immediate lead-up, nearly 500 keen racegoers were on hand to see local trainer Matt Dunn presented with the special trainer's award for having achieved the most success over the course of the competition.
Dunn was a tearaway winner of the award after finishing on 39 points, with Gold Coast trainer Bruce Hill a distant runner-up on 11 points.
TRJC secretary-manager Brian Charman said Mr Dunn was keen for his winning $4000 special purse to make its way back to the jockey club, possibly via a sponsorship arrangement.
While none of the local trainers were able to get one home on Tuesday, conditions proved perfect for the mudlarks.
In the feature 1530m New Year open handicap, Beaudesert-based Champagne Rock ($7.00) came away with the prize to make it three wins and a second from six starts on heavy tracks.
The eight-year-old Rock Of Gibraltar (IRE) gelding scored by a head to Moon And The Stars and another length to Neurum Road.
The winner stayed close to the leaders for the entire journey, and outlasted his opposition in a hard grind to the post as challengers came at him from all directions.
Apprentice Corey Bayliss rode Champagne Rock who was prepared by Ben Robinson.
The final instalment of the triple-header closes the door on what Chairman Bernie Quinn OAM, said was a successful period for the TRJC.
Quinn said the TRJC had been attracting a range of trainers, sponsors and the community, in a bumper summer season.
"Sponsorship has been sought after and the prizemoney has been great,” he said.
"They come across the border as if they left their lollies here and the last two turnouts were superb.
"They're realising that it's a worthwhile club to be involved with and we're just so happy the locals are starting to come back and support the jockey club.”
The next meeting is due on February 7.