Topsy-turvy week for local fans
IT'S been a topsy-turvy week for Coffs Harbour racing with Natural Destiny's belting of his Summer Stakes rivals in Brisbane last Saturday giving us a great high, followed on Sunday by the low of Takeover Target's controversial scratching from the Hong Kong International Sprint which he appeared to have at his mercy.
During the week Trevor Hardy's Fair Game almost got the money at Doomben on Thursday when a very good second up there, while Brett Dodson's Frisco's Lass finished just out of a place behind Auckland Blues at Warwick Farm on the same day after running a great race too.
Takeover Target and trainer Joe Janiak will be back on home soil next week after months living out of a suitcase in Europe and Asia, and after the events of last weekend you can be sure they'll both be keen to settle back into Coffs where we'll give them the credit they so deserve.
Aside from Natural Destiny's triumph, next week should be better, kicking off with an early start at Ballina today and another meeting at Taree tomorrow where our stables are strongly represented.
n COFFS trainers Paul Smith, Trevor Hardy, Brett Bellamy and Ken Lantry all have starters in the first at Ballina today which jumps before just before 11am, but we might have to wait until just after midday for the third, a 1900m Class 2 to get some money with Bellamy's gelding Pigeon Ponds.
Pigeon Ponds has been very consistent this campaign and his past three starts, all on his home track, have seen him pick up a cheque each time with a last start win over 1600m up his sleeve. Bellamy has top rider Peter Graham booked for tomorrow's step up to the 1900m and with 57 kg's to carry the race is a big ask. Hopefully Pigeon Ponds likes early starts too.
n AT Taree on Sunday, Coffs trainer Brett Dodson is looking to claim the 1250m Harrington Waters Cup with mare Frisco Agogo which is also having a very consistent campaign this time in.
After winning at Armidale last month, Frisco Agogo finished third at Taree in the Wingham Cup won by her 'sister' Frisco's Lass whose effort in town on Thursday makes the form really stand up. Apprentice rider Malcolm Duce's claim will ease her 58.5 kg handicap and the mare has had three weeks off to have her ripe for Sunday's Taree feature.
Topweight for the race is Fine Cheval whose last start second at Eagle Farm and engagement of Robert Thompson to ride should ensure his favouritism and that the six year old Coffs mare is better odds than you might expect.
Also at Taree, Dodson has gelding Sunhill to run in the third, a 0-70 rating clash over 2000m. Coffs jockey Wayne Wheatley is heading down to ride Sunhill which won at Coffs last month before a second over 1900m at Armidale. Sunday's distance looks ideal for the four year old son of Dodge.
n I HAVEN'T tipped you anything for a while after a horror run, but am sticking the neck out and hoping to get some Christmas shopping money together on mare Devil Inside at the Gold Coast this afternoon. Trained at the Coast by Liam Birchley, lightly raced Devil Inside has been freshened up for today's sixth over 900m after a trip to Sydney two months ago.
In her six career wins, the daughter of Langfuhr has usually beaten much better horses that she lines up against today and has a record of two from three first-up. She's drawn a little awkwardly, but Chris Whitely is an underrated jockey and she should give this race a real shake.
n If you like finding country horses with a winning chance in town, check out the form of Tamworth trained sprinter The Jackal in the last at Rosehill today as well.
Four-year-old gelding The Jackal resumed from a spell two weeks ago at Randwick with a strong finishing second to Flying Orders, and under the Welter conditions of today's wide open race looks well placed on the limit and with Hugh Bowman to ride from gate 4.
Another country horse Silver Street is also in the market for this race where the Hawkes/Beadman team and Gumnuts claim favouritism.