VETERAN trainer Ross Stitt again holds the key to Coffs Harbour's biggest race after the colourfully name Shazza's Bubbles took out the Aylward Auctioneers and Valuers Sawtell Cup.
Aided by a gem of a ride from champion jockey Robert Thompson, the mare gave the Taree trainer back-to-back Cup wins after taking the race in 2014 with Single Spirit.
That horse went on to finish third in the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup behind stablemate Southern Shimmer and Stitt has a similar program in mind.
"Now I need to talk Robert into riding her," he said.
"A lot depends on what weight she gets from the handicapper but she's a horse in great form and must have a chance."
A lover of soft tracks, Shazza's Bubbles has raced as far afield as Mudgee, Grafton, Randwick and the Sunshine Coast over the past few months and seems to thrive on a hard campaign.
"Every now and then I give her a little freshen up and then off she goes again," Stitt said.
It was Stitt's fifth win in the race with his first back in 1976 with Broughton Boy, ridden by Billy O'Brien.
Thompson's ride was masterful.
Coming out of barrier two, the rider stayed on the fence and settled behind leading pair Before You Think and Got Unders.
Approaching the corner, Thompson began moving gradually to a wider part of the track and had the last shot in the straight.
"I knew she is very fit and the going would suit her perfectly," he said.
Got Unders fought on well in a great trial for the Gold Cup on August 6.
Thompson was a little evasive when asked if he had accepted Stitt's offer of the mount on Cup day, preferring to see what change the handicapper may bring to the situation.
Meanwhile, jockey Jasen Watkins shrugged off sore ribs suffered in a barrier incident at Saturday's Cairns meeting and flew south to ride Purrvosa to victory in the Brown and Hurley Daniel Baker Sprint Prelude.
It was another brilliant ride on the Brett Bellamy-trained gelding with Watkins giving the horse every chance to settle.
Changing course several times, Watkins kept searching for the best grass and was rewarded with the judge's decision in the last stride.