Kirk Matheson will ride Bella Boss at the Ballina Jockey Club TAB meeting tomorrow. Photo Marc Stapelberg
Kirk Matheson will ride Bella Boss at the Ballina Jockey Club TAB meeting tomorrow. Photo Marc Stapelberg

Ballina to host first race meet since pandemic started

A REJUVENATED Bella Boss could be one to watch in the Benchmark 66 handicap (1600m) at the Ballina Jockey Club TAB meeting today.

The five-year-old mare has one win and two placings since February and Lismore trainer Sharon Pepper believes all signs point to another decent run.

The horse has always had plenty of potential since winning a maiden two years ago but has struggled for consistency.

"We'ved ironed out a few things with her and she's certainly been a lot more consistent," Pepper said.

"They all have their little quirks but she's a pretty straight forward horse who just loves racing.

"The mare's don't like the heat sometimes and I think she'll enjoy the cooler weather that's coming."

Racing NSW is currently operating under strict guidelines with only jockeys, trainers and limited staff allowed on the tracks.

This will be the first time Ballina has had a race meeting during the coronavirus pandemic.

"They (Racing NSW) are going to great lengths to keep us going," Pepper said.

"It's very different at the tracks now but we have to do whatever we can to keep going."

Ballina Jockey Club had 131 nominations for the seven race program on Thursday and finished with 95 acceptances.

"We really didn't know what to expect with the Queensland trainers unable to come down," Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matthew Bertram said.

"The chances for a local trainer to win a race now are so much better.

"We need them to survive. "We can't afford to lose our trainers and we need to keep them growing."

Ballina trainer Terry McCarthy has a last start winner with Star of Harada lining up in the in the Benchmark 66 handicap (1000m).

Casino trainer Leo Clapham has Mercum coming off a win last start while the Brett
Bellamy-trained All About Charlie is also in the race.

Leading Northern Rivers trainer Matt Dunn has a number of runners throughout the day from his Murwillumbah stable.