Multiple chances abound for Cup Day features
MAINLY fine weather conditions and a track currently rated a Good 3 await patrons and thoroughbreds at the Tweed River Jockey Club's big Melbourne Cup day meeting on Tuesday.
The event is traditionally one of the most keenly patronised in the Northern Rivers racing calendar with a large, well-dressed crowd guaranteed.
No doubt, the live music and fashions-in-the-field will keep guests entertained, but for more serious racing fans there will be no shortage of trackside interest.
Six quality events are on the local card plus all the live racing action from Melbourne. An on-course tote and bookies' ring will cater to all comers, from once-a-year types to form students and regular punters.
In the day's feature 1530m DJ Stringer Property Services Tweed River open handicap, Casino-based trainer Daniel Bowen will be keeping a keen eye on a new addition to his stable, Rockleigh (NZ).
Bowen said this would be Rockleigh's first start at Murwillumbah and only his second for Bowen.
"He's a beautiful animal,” he said.
"I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but if it goes well with him, in a month or two he might even be looking at a Glenn Innes Cup start, but there's a lot to go before then.
"I've only had him for the one start, and when he came to me he had a rotten virus - I gave him a run over 1000m just to get a bearing on him and give him a chance of a hit-out and maybe build up his confidence a little, but he was still getting over it.
"That race was a bit of a trial in a way. The 1000m was too short for him and he was carrying 62kg, but he tried and I'm expecting him to do better on Tuesday - back to 1500m with blinkers and he's got the form on the board.”
Three starts ago, Rockleigh was a runner up at Ipswich over 1350m, after coming home from mid-field on a soft track which did not do him too many favours.
"He probably prefers a firm track if you look at where he's done well in the past,” Bowen said, suggesting Tuesday's conditions will prove ideal.
Rockleigh also boasts senior hoop Laura Cheshire on board, who has made a habit of doing well at Murwillumbah in recent times, riding a winning double on Anzac Day.
Other chances include last start winner, Chloride, partnered by 4kg claiming apprentice Corinne Miles, November Grey from the Maryann Brosnan stable at the Gold Coast, and mare Red Bohemia who has been knocking on the door for most of her current campaign. The event is race four on the program.
The day's other feature race is the 1530m cup (R3), Ellis & Baxter Solicitor & Attorneys Benchmark 45 handicap. The last start winning top weight, and son of supersire Clang, Clangoranda looks well suited here.
He has the notable trainer-rider combination of Greg Cornish and Sheree Drake in his corner, and he rarely puts in a bad run. At 60.5kg the tried and true six-year-old gelding is as well weighted as he can ever hope to be in Benchmark 45 company.
The first race of the day kicks off at 12.55pm (NSW).