Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Ge­or­gia Smith

Be­nalla Rac­ing Club is as ready as it is go­ing to be for the 2018 bet365 Be­nalla Gold Cup on Septem­ber 28.

With the grand fi­nal eve pub­lic hol­i­day, the spring rac­ing car­ni­val in full swing and strong in­ter­est from top train­ers, a big crowd is ex­pected.

The only thing stand­ing be­tween now and the $125 000 is the state of the track.

And the club’s track man­ager Ed­ward Hig­gins said it was, well, on track.

Hig­gins said it had been shap­ing nicely through the win­ter and the com­ing warmer weather would be ic­ing on the cake.

‘‘The run­ning sur­face is look­ing good, and has ben­e­fited from good cov­er­age all round,’’ Hig­gins said.

‘‘Right now it is al­ready sit­ting around a good five.’’

In terms of the new track rat­ing sys­tem, the five means the track is soft, with a rea­son­able amount of give in it.

Con­di­tions Hig­gins said were per­fect this far out from the race day.

With just 16 days to the blue-rib­bon event on the lo­cal rac­ing cal­en­dar Hig­gins said he was con­fi­dent the track would con­tinue to stay in top shape. ‘‘It should be ter­rific on the day,’’ he said. ‘‘Long range show­ers are pre­dicted be­tween now and then, but that is noth­ing the track can’t han­dle.’’

With plenty of prepa­ra­tion still to be done, the track will be fer­tilised again be­fore the bet365 Be­nalla Gold Cup is run.

That will be fol­lowed by aer­a­tion and Hig­gins said to man­i­cure the track for the big day it would be trimmed to the per­fect length.

It has not been raced on since May, so the first meet­ing of the new sea­son will ben­e­fit from the re­cov­ery pe­riod.

Hig­gins said there was just one other el­e­ment he hoped would fall into place for the oc­ca­sion: ‘‘It’s the one thing we can’t con­trol, but hope­fully we get great weather for the day.’’

High main­te­nance: Be­nalla Rac­ing Club track man­ager Ed­ward Hig­gins checks over the track in prepa­ra­tion for Septem­ber 28.

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