Blake Shinn rides Coffs Harbour trained gelding Free Standing to win the Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Blake Shinn rides Coffs Harbour trained gelding Free Standing to win the Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Jenny Evans/Daily Telegraph

Rescue chopper's $5k benefit from Free Standing's big win

THE win in the Country Chanpionships Final by the Coffs Harbour trained Free Standing continues to be a great fairytale.

Not only did the Equiano gelding deliver trainer Cathleen Rode the greatest win of her career at Royal Randwick last weekend, but the victory has also raised money for the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service.

The service will be handed $5000 courtesy of TAB after Grafton's Daily Examiner nominated it as its charity of choice in TAB's 2017 Country Editors' Challenge.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service will receive $5000 thanks to the Coffs Harbour-trained Free Standing's win in the Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service will receive $5000 thanks to the Coffs Harbour-trained Free Standing's win in the Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick. Westpac Rescue Helicopter Servic

Newspaper editors from the towns that hosted a Country Championship qualifying race were invited to 'support their local horse' leading up to last weekend's Final.

The TAB then got behind each region's qualifiers and editors were asked to nominate a charity with $5000 heading to the winner's respective charity.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service had Free Standing and race favourite Perfect Dare running for them and the Coffs Harbour four year-old didn't disappoint, cruising away at big odds, much to the delight of general manager Kris Beavis and his dedicated team.

"We were all up to our arms in mud and it was like a ray of sunshine had appeared," he said.

Mr Beavis was helping his Lismore community fight the recent widespread flooding of northern NSW when he received some welcome news amidst the bedlam.

"I'll never forget the moment. It was the Saturday and we were bang in the middle of trying to clean up the massive damage when one of the fellas yelled out that we had won the Editors' Challenge with $5000 coming our way from TAB," Mr Beavis recalled.

"It really did bring a smile to our faces and will be put to great use. It's nice to be recognised by the community for the services we provide."



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