By JOHN COCHRANE
COFFS Harbour's connection with Randwick's Expressway Stakes continues today when Warwick Farm trained gelding Sportsman lines up in the elite field for this year's race.
Sportsman is part-owned by Coffs Harbour Racing Club president Polly Wilson who has made the trip to town to watch the 1200m Group 2 clash of several of Australia's best sprinters.
The Expressway Stakes was won in the past by Coffs Harbour's Mr Innocent and Zac Purton is adding to the local connection with the time-honoured race by taking the mount on Sportsman for trainer Greg Hickman this afternoon.
Hickman has sorted out some hoof problems which have plagued the five-year-old and having some give in the ground today will be in his favour.
The winner of eight races and almost $690,00 in prizemoney, Sportsman faces rivals the calibre of Gai Waterhouse's champion Grand Armee, flying mare Our Egyptian Raine and up-and-comer Falkirk in the first of the major sprints of the season.
Thoughts of a start in races like the Apollo Stakes, All Aged Stakes and possibly even the Doncaster Handicap at Easter are in the back of Polly's mind and a good effort from Sportsman in today's Expressway will be a step in that direction and intensify local interest in the approaching autumn carnival.
If Sportsman gets up at this morning's quote of 15-1, the best bet of the day will be on Polly to have one or two extra champagnes after the race.