Highway robbery at the racecourse
Horse racing: Thursday's showcase meeting at Coffs Harbour was a long one for local trainers, with powerhouse stables from Newcastle and the Gold Coast dominating because of the extra prize money on offer.
Provincial trainers combined to win five of the eight races on the card.
Newcastle's Kris Lees won three events, with Bubbles Ball (race one - $1.80), Moana Marie (race three - $10) and Mimic (race seven - $1.85) all saluting.
The Gold Coast's Toby Edmonds also had multiple winners with Casurina Star (race two - $1.80) and Nooks and Crannies (race six - $2.80) first past the post.
The only country trainers who tasted success were Grafton's John Shelton, Kempsey's Tony Green and Wauchope's Colt Prosser.
Coffs trainer Warren Gavenlock had his five-year-old mare Danishki place second behind Lees' Mimic, and said it could be agitating when the big players came to town and cleaned up.
"It is frustrating because once upon a time they (provincial trainers) would have had to get rid of those horses,” he said.
"But now they come up here, which is easy to do with the good roads, and win these races. It's very frustrating but we have to deal with it.
"It's (showcase meetings) helped us a lot, but they've also hurt us.”
Gavenlock doesn't blame the provincial trainers for raiding showcase events, as he understands they want to get a win for their owners and connections.
He believes the answer isn't to lock them out from showcase meetings, but have a couple of races on each card solely for country horses.
He also wants more Benchmark 70 events to be added to country meetings.
"Once a horse wins four or five races, it gets very hard to place them,” he said.
"You have to take them to the provincials or the city to get them a run.”
However, Gavenlock was full of praise for Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys and the fact prize money had increased across the board under his watch.
"It's still better doing this than digging ditches (laughs).”
As for Danishki, who has placed second four times, Gavenlock is hopeful her second win is just around the corner.
"She's been quite unlucky and maybe not strong enough,” he said.
"But now she's had a couple of trials and has a lot more condition on her so hopefully she can go on with it.”
Coffs Harbour's next meeting is December 27, with nominations closing Thursday, December 20.