Jockey Marlon Dolendo leads the premiership race.
Jockey Marlon Dolendo leads the premiership race. PHOTO File

Rain wipes out races

IT’S probably just a case of taking the good with the bad.

Predictions of a long, wet summer ahead is frustrating the racing community on the Coffs Coast.

The cancellation of Friday’s TAB race meeting, the second meeting abandoned in recent weeks, came just six days after Coffs Harbour Racing Club took out a major industry award.

Despite the latest setback, Racing Club CEO Russ Atkinson was determined to put a smiley face on the situation.

“Let me start by thanking all those people involved in racing in and around Coffs Harbour for their contributions over the past few years,” he said.

“It is this commitment and support that has put the club in the position to take on the big boys around the State and has resulted in our success at the NSW Country Racing Awards where we won Best Regional Club which is recognition of the hard work done over the past 12 months to grow our business.

“Of course, Mother Nature has a way of bringing us down to earth.

“With the loss of Friday’s races and only three races completed at our October TAB meeting, many of the gains made last year have been quickly eaten away. It certainly is looking like a wet summer but fortunately it’s the time of year we recover and dry out very quickly.

“While we get these setbacks in this industry the future is looking very positive for the club.

“Particularly in light of the recent outcomes in the race fields case and when funds start to flow, all sectors should benefit.”

The next Coffs Harbour race meet is scheduled for December 30, the opening day of the summer carnival stretching into the new year.

Meanwhile, the challengers are coming thick and fast for Coffs Harbour’s premier rider Raymond Spokes as he seeks to defend his maiden NRRA title.

The 2009-10 winner Marlon Dolendo has returned to form and ahead of yesterday’s Lismore meeting had 15 race victories, two clear of his Coffs-based rival.

Adding to the pressure is the purple patch of form that has elevated Matthew Paget to third place with 12 winners.

In the junior division, Samantha Munro, Matthew McGuren and Gabrielle Coleman share the lead with six winners each.

Defending champion Brett Bellamy and Ballina’s Danny Bowen share the lead on the trainers’ list with each having prepared 15 winners since August 1.

While Bellamy and Bowen have dominated the premiership, the prize money is being shared around with 101 trainers having won at least one race with less than half the season complete.

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