Trainer Ken Lantry is happy to be back in Coffs Harbour leading Belford Boy around the stables.
Trainer Ken Lantry is happy to be back in Coffs Harbour leading Belford Boy around the stables. Trevor Veale

Trainer back 'home' for festival

TRAINER Ken Lantry is back “home” in Coffs Harbour with a strong team of horses for the annual racing festival.

Before shifting his base back to the Hunter after winning the 2009 Cup with Legendary Man, Lantry spent about 15 years near the top of the Northern Rivers racing tree and turned out scores of winners from the Howard Street complex.

He has three horses nominated today and the same number ready for tomorrow’s feature meeting.

“Good to be back in Coffs again and catch up with everybody,” he said.

“I’ll probably only be starting two on Wednesday, as Shorty’s Choice finished up an emergency.

“Let’s hope the stable can have a bit of success.”

His most interesting runner is Life Bell, an unraced three-year-old that will sport silk for the first time in today’s Pacific Vetcare Maiden.

The gelding is the latest to carry the “Life” tag used for horses raced by the Russo and Cousins families.

“I’ve got another one of them in Lifebelt, who will also start later in the day, and Bill Thompson has Lifeboat, which is back for the big sprint race,” Lantry said.

“There are a heap of them and I hope this bloke (Life Bell) can gallop as well.”

Lantry was chuffed when told people still fondly recalled his now-retired Cup winner, Legendary Man, and asked about the horse’s welfare and whereabouts.

Despite numerous injuries and interruptions to his career, there were few horses more courageous than the son of Shovog and this endeared him to the racing public.

“I would love to have another one like him, as they don’t come along very often,” Lantry said.

“These days he still looks great and is having a wonderful life down at my property.

“He’s in the paddock with three other horses and has a great time bossing them around.

“With his personality and ability and being so gutsy, ones like him are impossible to replace.”

Today’s main race is the Cabcharge Ken Howard Cup, over the 2100m middle distance, which continues to grow in prestige since the Carlton Mid Coffs Harbour Gold Cup was switched back to the metric mile.

Trainer Gordon Yorke holds the key to the race with three nominations, including city-winning mare Rare Diamond, which is also down to run in tomorrow’s big event.

In contrast, trainer Peter Goodenough has had the misfortune to have Geronimo Jack declared an emergency for both Cup races, after the Umatilla gelding showed his readiness for a bold bid for feature success when finishing a close second behind Kevejon on Sawtell Cup day.

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