Well, over the border for the first time in 2014. Goodness, I hadn’t been to Corowa since the end of December 2013. From just past Whittlesea to Corowa it drizzled, and it continued for my first few hours in town. Get to Corowa, and start off by having a nice lunch with the rellies, in the Chocalate Factory, which is nestled in the old flour mill. From there a short drive to the track.
On track it was a 5 race card. The first commenced at 1-25pm, the Golfers Lodge Maiden, over four and half furlongs, with the days first winner being Cold Ice, trained by Tatura based Ivan Lister, ridden superbly by Nick Souquet. The track was initially rated a good 3.
Race 2, also a Maiden, was run over 1300 metres. Here the Cranbourne trained Cheap Tycoon was the winner. Local trainer Mandie Jones produced a duet in this race. She had the favourite Maison Man, which came third, while her Balmattum Belle ran second, it’s first placing in eleven starts. Balmattum Belle had put on an allmighty performance in the mounting yard, bucking and lashing out wildly, but settled down to run well. The track was now a dead 4.
The third was also over 1300 metres, being a Benchmark 45. Bradley Vale rode the Albury trained Dancing Hillbilly to victory. In this race the first five horses maintained their positions for the duration of the race, which may have indicated a track bias, but as it stood throughout the day winners came from both the front of the field, and beyond mid field. As the drizzle continued the track was downgraded to a dead 5.
Race 4, The Ray Sykes Memorial Benchmark 50, was a sprint over 5 furlongs. The track was further downgraded to a slow 6, which it remained for the rest of the meeting. The Wangaratta trained Our Hussey, ridden by the intriguingly named Chynna Marston, was the winner.
The final race, the RSL Class 2 over a mile, saw Melissa Nicholls win on Dane’s Edge. My money was on Lingering, who led all of the way until the last half furlong, but faded to a disappointing fourth.
Honours for the day were shared by five different jockeys, and trainers. It was pleasing to see three of the winners were female apprentices; Jessica Payne, Chynna Marston, who also rode Sonro to victory in the trial , as well as Melissa Nicholls. Are the girls the future of Australian racing? It took a long time for female jockeys to be accepted, but the performances of riders like Claire Lindop, Nikita Berriman, Jamie Kah, etc, show the important role they play in our races. For the locals, training honours go to Mandie Jones and Rick Freyer, both of whom trained place getters.
My next planned visit to Corowa is in March – the Cup meeting. I live in hope a local can claim the Cup, as none has since Sir Knight way back in 1999. Nut I’m not holding my breath.