Summer of racing hitting the tracks
THE Tweed River Jockey Club kicks off its holiday racing program and Summer Series tomorrow when it hosts the traditional Christmas twilight meeting at Murwillumbah racecourse.
Racing seemed less than certain of going ahead earlier in the week. The track had received more than its fair share of recent rainfall - including 96mm in the space of seven days at one point - but by Wednesday, racing stewards had given local officials the thumbs-up.
The track is currently rated a Heavy 10, though the good drying weather currently being experienced suggests that an upgrade is on the cards.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, there will be plenty of entertainment taking place tomorrow afternoon and evening. This includes both a lunchtime and an early dinner sitting at the bistro for those patrons keen to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal with all the trimmings.
There will be DJ-provided musical entertainment throughout the afternoon, plus local band Mangrove Jack performing live from 5pm. For the kids, facepainting and snowcones will be offered, while punters can look forward to a strong local bookies' ring and full on-course betting facilities.
In one of the afternoon's feature races, the Gary Harpal Singh's Buses Class 3 handicap over 1800m (race 6 at 4.45pm), classy mare Solar Lady and the topweight My Kind share early market favouritism. That's not all they have in common. Both are last start winners and are at their best over a bit of ground that has preferably had the sting taken out of it. They'll get that in spades tomorrow, guaranteeing they will have every chance. Solar Lady, in particular, has shown a consistent knack for winning on rain sodden tracks and may just have the edge on her rival on that measure.
Another worth watching is Dazzle Us Again at double-figure overnight odds. He didn't miss out by much at his last run at the Gold Coast over the 1800m distance, and won the time before that on heavy ground over 1905m at Ballina in a Benchmark 57 handicap. He's by a Group 1 winning sire in Red Dazzler, and looks well placed with claiming apprentice Jackson Murphy bringing the handicaper's allotted weight down from 56 to 54.5kg. It's a considerable drop compared to what Dazzle Us Again has been lugging around in recent outings, and it could make all the difference as they get close to home.
Murwillumbah's special 'Summer of Racing Series will cover tomorrow's meeting, plus another two: Tuesday, January 2 and Sunday, January 7. A special $5,000 purse will go to the most successful trainer over the course of the series.
Gates open at 12 noon tomorow, with the first of the day due at 1.45pm. See ya there.