Murwillumbah Cup ready for revamped 2017 program
BUNDALL-based trainer Bruce Hill will be heading down the Gold Coast highway tomorrow for chance of scoring some of the $38,000 prize money on offer in the showcase, 2017 Murwillumbah Cup.
That's five chances of scoring, to be precise. The seasoned Queensland trainer will be preparing three starters and both emergency runners in the twelve horse, quality, cup field.
No stranger to the little track among the cane fields, Hill walked away with the Murwillumbah Cup in 2011, courtesy of his galloper, Warrior Within.
More recently he achieved similar success with Vodnik, who took out the 2015 Murwillumbah Cup Prelude (1800m).
The purists will note that this year marks the first time the Murwillumbah Cup will be run at a 1530m distance. Traditionally a stayers' race of 2000m or 2020m, a revamped 2017 program has seen the Tweed River Jockey Club's most important contest, brought back to a near-mile run, broadening the event's already considerable, industry-wide appeal.
Hill prepares the top weight, Bodega Negra; last start winner and overnight $3.70 favourite, Liberty Island; Winning Accord, who took out a 1530m Benchmark 60 event during the jockey club's successful Summer Series Of Racing; and the two emergencies, Montrer Dam, a previous on-course winner, and Toronto Flyer who has a perfect Murwillumbah record and is coming off a last start win at Beaudesert.
Any track-rat will tell you that the winner should come out of this pack of five stable-runners, although the early betting market has thrown up a caution in the form of $5.50 pop, Cashing Up.
At about this time last year, he went around in the $400,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) and put in a decent effort. He has continued racing with some success in mainly quality city affairs, so from a class perspective, he's very well suited in this.
The Murwillumbah Cup is race seven on the program and is due at 4.10pm. The day's other feature races include, the $28,000 Murwillumbah Newmarket (R6 - 1200m) and the $22,000 Tygalgah Cup (R8 - 2020m). Gates open at 11am.