Wide barrier no disadvantage
By MITCHELL DALE
DRAWING barrier five in a seven-horse race isn't usually what you would call good luck.
But with the going better out wide when the Coffs Harbour track is rain-affected, local trainer Paul Smith isn't complaining about four-year-old mare Sawtell Belle's wide gate for today's Chiquita Export Maiden plate (1209m).
"She has drawn alright, the track is always better out wide when it rains," Smith said.
"But with my luck (at the barrier draws) I thought I would draw barrier one for this race."
Smith reckons the Muhayaa mare has a promising future.
"She goes alright, she has a couple of wins in her," he says.
"She's definitely good enough to win a maiden and then hopefully she can improve on that.
"I think she will go a bit better over a longer distance"
Her debut run didn't have Smith performing backflips with excitement, but she has steadily improved.
"Her first start at Ballina (on April 23) was a bit ordinary, she was a shin sore so she went out to the paddock for a few months," he said.
"She came back well at Grafton three weeks ago, she had a fair run and finished mid-field."
However, Smith acknowledged she was untried in the wet.
"I don't know if she will handle the wet," he said.
"But I'm not even too sure if the races will be on because of the rain."
Smith expects his mare's toughest test to come from Taree trainer Bob Milligan's gelding, Barb's Little Man.
"He'll be the hardest to beat I think, he has the best form on the board," Smith said.
"But I think (Sawtell Belle) will go alright, the plan will just be to get as far forward as possible."
Sawtell Belle is one of four maidens Smith is currently working, with a couple showing some positive signs.
"I've got one fella who hasn't had a start yet, but he shows a bit of promise," Smith says.
For all the latest in racing news see John Cochrane's That's Racing column in tomorrow's Coffs Coast Advocate.
Fields and form for today's eight race meeting appear on Page 28.
Late yesterday advice was received from Coffs Harbour Racing Club that due to heavy rain which has fallen over the past few days, today's race meeting is in extreme doubt.