Adam Hourigan

Racing back for annual festival

YESTERDAY at 7am two giant thoroughbreds thundered down the straight at Coffs Harbour racecourse to test the improvement made to the racing surface.

With thumbs up to chairman Alan Johnson, the gallop signalled the end of months of frustration with the track out of action while drainage work was completed.

Now it's all systems go for tomorrow's Sawtell Cup meeting and the commencement of the annual carnival.

"Last year we would have struggled to race on Sunday, even with those few showers through the week," Johnson said.

"Walking the course we can see how good it's come up after the work and without any further rain we'll race on a heavy 8 in the straight with a better rating for the back of the course."

For trainers like veteran Jim Jarvis it's a relief to finally have fast work possible on the course proper.

"I can't wait to hear what the jockeys report after the first race," he said.

"If what we expect happens and they give it their approval, all the worry will finally be worth it."

Meanwhile, unlucky galloper Shadow Rein may finally break through to win a major race when he runs in tomorrow's Sawtell Cup.

Also, top jockey Jasen Watkins will ride at the Cairns meeting in North Queensland today and then catch a southbound plane to ride Purrvosa for trainer Brett Bellamy in the feature race.

Eight races have been scheduled starting at 12.10pm.

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