IT’S been a week of ups and downs for Ballarat Turf Club.
The BTC landed a big financial coup with a five-year naming rights sponsorship deal with Sportsbet.
While there has been no public announcement concerning the value, with each party preferring to keep this information confidential, it is quite substantial.
Dowling Forest Racecourse will now commercially be known as Sportsbet – Ballarat.
Not so good news for the BTC on Thursday though when its nine-race card was abandoned after just three events, with jockeys refusing to ride on what they considered an unsafe slipper racing surface.
A section of the track was scarified on the home turn after Katelyn Mallyon reported that her mount slipped.
The track was cleared for racing after this work, but the BTC was not fortunate when Chris Symon’s mount slipped just past the finish line in the third race.
A scarifier was again used, but a majority of jockeys were not happy and stewards were left with no choice but to call off the meeting.
ROBERT Smerdon liked what he saw in a track gallop by group 1 winner Luckygray in a jumpout between races in Ballarat on Thursday.
Luckygray has been based at Smerdon’s Ballarat stable for a couple of weeks in the care of Simon Morrish.
The grey has had two starts for Smerdon since crossing from WA and is being set for the G1 Sir Ruper Clarke Stakes, 1400m, at Caulfield on September 29.
BALLARAT STABLE BEST BETS
GOTTA TAKE CARE (Darren Weir) – MV R3 today. Ultra consistent dour stayer. Last start MV 2500m winner. Have to stick with him over the same trip. Ben Melham aboard.
PLATELET (Darren Weir) – dual G1 winner first-up. If you were on her last campaign you have to get straight back on board and stick with her. Eachway show first up in tough G2 McEwen, 1000m.
BALLARAT STABLE FIRST STARTERS
BOUDIGA (Mick Kent*) – Black Hawk-Andrasta 5yo mare. R4 maiden at Seymour on Sunday.
RAEARNI (Robert Smerdon*) – Choisir-Typify 3yo filly, R2 maiden at Kilmore on Monday
MEAN STREAK (Robert Smerdon*) – Fastnet Rock-Candy Vale 3yo filly, R3 maiden at Kilmore on Monday
BALLARAT-TRAINED WINNERS PAST WEEK
ANATINA (Robert Smerdon*) - fillies’ and mares’ maiden, 1000m, at Geelong synthetic on Friday, September 13
CONSORTING (Mick Kent*) – 4yo benchmark64, 1200, at Mornington on Wednesday, September 11
COLOUR ME GREY (Jim Mason)- 3yo maiden, 1200m, at Warrnambool on Monday, September 9
STYLISH LILY (Darren Weir) – maiden, 1000m, at Warracknabeal on Sunday, September 8
ASK THE BOSS (Darren Weir) – maiden, 1200m, at Warracknabeal on Sunday, September 8
VETWRAP (Darren Weir) – 0-58 handicap, 1200m, at Warracknabeal on Sunday, September 8
BALLARAT stable runners among first acceptors for key races:
Dan O’Sullivan: Tuscan Fire
Darren Weir: Lake Sententia, Ava’s Delight
Darren Weir: Lakle Sententia, Ava’s Delight, Puissance de Lune
Michael Kent*: Pyrrolic
Patrick Payne*: Late Charge
Robert Smerdon*: Hill Spy
Tony Vasil*: Duran, Prince Harada, The Bowler
Darren Weir: Trust In A Gust
THOUSAND GUINEAS on Wednesday, October 16:
Mick Kent*: Godiva Rock, Marianne, The Huntress, Scratchy Bottom
Robert Smerdon*: Politeness, Every Faith, Go Again
Tony Vasil*: Celeritas
Darren Weir: Springalon, Scarlet Billows, Street Allure, May’s Dream