Late entry comes first
BALLINA trainer Danny Bowen was given a surprise birthday present at the Ballina Jockey Club TAB meeting yesterday.
Four-year-old mare Rena ($17) took out the $15,000 LJ Hooker Benchmark 55 Handicap (1300m).
The mare was listed as a first emergency when acceptances came out and had only had the one run with Bowen leading in.
"I don't have any (birthday) plans, I'm just happy to be here," a delighted Bowen said.
"It was definitely a surprise because we only just bought her.
"She had a few issues with breathing so we tried a tongue-tie and that seemed to work well.
"It was a big effort in that race because some of those horses have won a lot more races than her."
Industrialism, Slipstreams and Hughes On First went into the race as $5 equal favourites.
The race was delayed when three-year-old gelding Doughty was a late scratching at the gate on advice from the vet.
Rena ($17) finished a neck ahead of Logical Outcome ($17) with the Leo Clapham trained Inaction ($9) back in third.
Bowen's seven-year-old gelding Kalbo was also scratched in the lead-up to the race - there were 30 acceptances with four emergencies.
"I thought they might have split the race but they didn't," Bowen said.
"I had the top weight with Kalbo so we scratched him so she (Rena) would get a run.
"We thought we would throw her in because of the weight on a real heavy track.
"We actually bought her at a sale in Melbourne.
"I don't want to talk her up too much but it was a decent effort."
Bowen is a long-time Ballina trainer and keen advocate for Racing NSW to set down more race meetings in the Northern Rivers.
The last TAB meeting at the Ballina club in February was washed out with the next scheduled for April 19.
Upcoming Northern Rivers race meetings:
- Saturday, March 23 Casino (non-TAB);
- Monday, March 25 Grafton;
- Wednesday, April 3 Lismore;
- Monday, April 8 Grafton;
- Friday, April 19, Ballina;
- Monday, April 22 Grafton;
- Thursday, April 25 Murwillumbah;
- Monday, April 29 Lismore.