TODAY’S Coffs Harbour TAB race meeting is billed as a ‘beach party’ and while the sand will be imported, the water is laid on.
Gates will open at 12.30pm with proceeds directed to junior surf life saving with sandcastle modelling and swimwear parades adding to the theme.
Racing Club CEO Russ Atkinson had fingers crossed the unexpected burst of sunshine would buy some drying time and last until at least the start of the opening event at 2.24pm.
“A nice sunny day would be good but, logically, a heavy-10 track is a starting point and we’ll wait for feedback from the jockeys after they ride in the first,” he said.
“Safety is always the first consideration and it’s up to those little blokes to offer their opinions.”
He agreed the run of rainy days on the Northern Rivers and loss of meetings will put pressure on RacingNSW to take a closer look at installing an all-weather track.
“I think they’ll take a serious look but remember, building it will be expensive and you have to consider what other use it can be put to when conditions dry out,” Atkinson said.
“There’s talk of one going in at Hawkesbury but I also believe our association would be a genuine candidate because of the size of our horse pool.”
And with so many meetings lost in December, is it worth asking Racing NSW to schedule more dates later in the season?
“Usually, no ... as there are few new dates available and lack of TAB coverage may lead to more financial strain,” Atkinson said.
“Unless it’s a Cup event or feature race that can be tacked on to another meeting, I’m afraid we don’t have many options other than hoping for better luck next time.”
With so many horses looking for a start, today’s Solar and Bamboo Direct-sponsored meeting should have punters looking for the proven mud runners.
Trainer Brett Bellamy will start improving filly Sticky Toffee in the Benchmark 64 Handicap and as an added bonus to her chances will leg up 1.5kg claiming apprentice Brad Wallace, bringing her weight back to 52.5kg.
After an unlucky fifth at Coffs on October 22 she twice finished runner-up, before returning to the winner’s list at her home track on November 19 under stable rider Raymond Spokes.