Mudlark swims on Coffs track
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
SAWTELL Cup winner El Jefe must sleep every night on a water bed such is his love for the soft ground.
The six-year-old had never missed a place in his previous four starts on heavy ground and that form proved true yesterday when he saluted in front of a healthy crowd at Coffs Harbour racecourse.
El Jefe was basically locked in a match race with Frisco's Harem for the full length of the straight before the Tamworth trained gelding edged ahead in the closing stages to win by a half length.
Trainer Lesley Jeffriess was quick to point out that if it wasn't for an abandoned meeting, her charge would now be a placegetter in all six starts over the softest ground available.
"One day I took him over to Port Macquarie and stayed the night and it pelted down rain all night and then rained all day, they had the first race then called them off," Jeffriess said.
"He was in the first and was beaten by only a lip, so I knew he'd handle the wet."
The weather was never a concern for Jeffriess but condition was.
"He hadn't had a run for four or five weeks so I was a bit worried about his fitness," she explained.
"He's a nice dour little horse and he's done plenty of work."
On a day when almost every runner was looking for the slightly firmer going on offer near the outside rail, Jeffriess can now see that what was originally thought a negative, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
"He drew barrier 11 and I was a bit worried about that when the acceptors came out but the way track is that was on the fence," she joked.
"The outside fence that is but that's where they were going."
A little bit more distance than the 1400m yesterday is what the Tamworth based trainer will be trying to find for her mud runner.
Outside of the two-horse battle up the straight, a lot of discussion among punters with an eye to Thursday's Gold Cup was centred around last year's winner Concitare.
The giant gelding flew down the outside for third without much effort from the jockey.
A nice conditioner as Bruce Swan chases a second Coffs Harbour Cup.