PEAK FITNESS: Sawtell Cup winner Eight Below will be the top local hope in tomorrow's big race.
PEAK FITNESS: Sawtell Cup winner Eight Below will be the top local hope in tomorrow's big race. Greg White

Eight is the ace in Cup

AUTOMATIC entry for winning the Sawtell Cup will see Eight Below emerge as the leading local light in tomorrow's Coffs Harbour Gold Cup.

Trained on the track by Sally Taylor for Gold Coast racing legends Hoss and Gillian Heinrich, the horse will again be ridden by Belinda Hodder who has just completed her most successful season of riding.

With 53 winners in 2017-18, the former Coffs Harbour apprentice finished 11th in the Country Jockey's Premiership and second to Kayla Nisbet among female riders.

Two previous Cup winners will start - Bodegra Negra from 2016 and last year's winner Darci's Affair - while local riding legend Jasen Watkins is chasing his third race victory.

Watkins won on Mr Gold Fire in 2006 and Belmonte in 2008 and just five weeks after returning from a two year 'retirement" he's been engaged for outsider Loud Enough, trained by George Woodward.

He replaces apprentice Mikayla Weir who rode the horse into fifth place in the Sawtell Cup, beaten 2.7 lengths under the steadier of 61kg.

Previously the horse also ran fifth in the South Grafton Cup and if the jockey can angle into the leading pack the pair have some winning chance.

Apart from the Cup and Daniel Baker Sprint, other features on the card are the Ken Howard Cup, the Merv Mercer Mile and the Blinkin Missit for the fastest horses in the region.



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