Coffs trainers make mark
By GREG WHITE
DON'T scoff at claims Coffs Harbour - trained horses have the best strike rate in Australian racing.
Take the last few days, for example.
At the bread and butter level, Ken Lantry paid for his holidays when he broke a drought with The Insider at Grafton on Saturday while Brett Bellamy crossed the ranges to pick up Sunday's 1100m Maiden at Armidale with Far Encounter.
Also on Saturday, Trevor Hardy took Shovoot to Eagle Farm and made it four straight wins in the last race of the day.
"He goes back to Brisbane in a couple of weeks then we'll tune him up for the big local sprints," Hardy revealed.
"I think he's up to the class of the Ramornie in Grafton and the Advocate Sprint at the Coffs carnival."
But the big story was Takeover Target, his 22 - year - old rider Jay Ford , storming to the line in the $1,000,000 Group 1 Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap (1200m) for laidback owner - trainer Joe Janiak on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Flemington, the place they call 'the course of history.'
"We're still coming down from cloud nine," Janiak said yesterday from his Melbourne base.
"The party's been going on since he crossed the line."
Before the race the knocker's were out in force, pointing to the class of the opponents, wet track, huge weight and necessity to re-write history as factors conspiring against the great sprinter.
"Everybody wants to find a way to beat them," Janiak remarked, "but champion's have a knack of proving the doubters wrong."
The win put Takeover Target into exhalted company.
He's the first topweight to win the Newmarket since the mighty mare Maybe Mahal in 1978.
Before Saturday, only three champion horses (Century, Special and Maybe Mahal) had won the triple crown of sprint racing, the Salinger Stakes/Lightning Stakes/Newmarket Handicap treble and now, Takeover Target joins this elite group.
Following the victory, Janiak announced an extended campaign to the already announced trip to England.
"I'm going to become multicultural," he joked.
"After Royal Ascot we'll head for Japan then on to Hong Kong for the other race in the Global Sprint Challenge."
Janiak will bring the horse home to Coffs Harbour this week for a month's spell and finalise the touring party for the overseas sojourn.
"Iv'e got to find a trackwork rider as Jay will be travelling back and forth for his races," he said.
"We'll take a vet and the kids will come along to help out.
"It seems the whole of Australia wants to make the trip."
One chore is already on Janiak's agenda when he gets home to Coffs.
"I want to get around to see people and call everybody who's helped out with the horse," he said.
"They've helped get him where he is today and we both want to thank them.
"If he wins overseas he'll belong to the world."