Goodenough hopes for Easter win
IT stands to reason somebody who once played rugby league for the club would one day part-own and train a horse named Sawty Panther.
Peter Goodenough sweated through many a tight contest for the current Group 2 premiers – son Zade was a member of the club’s winning under-18 side last season – and will barrier trial the appropriately named King Of Happiness (USA) gelding after the last at Coffs Harbour today.
“His name reminds us of a lot of good times ... but I hope he can gallop as well,” he chuckled.
“When we get him into a proper race I hope he’s going to be as hard to beat as Sawty will be again this year.”
The trainer has a busy time planned by saddling two runners at today’s non-TAB Easter Cup meeting, including You Know in the Miss Universe Australia Maiden Plate.
“This one is a real heartbreak horse and while he’s not the soundest, I’m always looking for excuses for him,” Goodenough said.
“We’ll keep the fingers crossed and see what occurs.”
The stable’s best chance of landing a winner comes in the last event with ex-southern states galloper Geronimo Jack.
After a recent campaign in western Victoria and South Australia, the son of former top-liner Umatilla had his first local start on March 10, finishing fourth in a 1200m BM54 Handicap at Casino.
“That was a pretty good run up the road and it will top him off for a race like this, particularly as he was racing against a better class of horse before arriving in town,” Goodenough added.
“Wayne Wheatley is going to ride him and as the bloke doesn’t mess around, ‘Jack’ is going to know that he’s been in a race.”
Meanwhile, in-form rider Raymond Spokes gets a golden opportunity on his home track to put more space on his nearest rivals for the jockey’s championship.
Spokes is on 37 winners, eight clear of Darron Coleman and defending champion Marlon Dolendo, and has a full book for the five races.
Dolendo has signalled his intention to fight Spokes all the way for the title by coming up the highway to Coffs after turning his back on rides at today’s Taree meeting, where he would have been racing for double the prize money.