Track will be the difference

REIGNING Carlton Mid Coffs Harbour Cup champion Mossurmi will break a 62-year hoodoo if he wins the feature event today.

Since Young Garland won the first Cup in 1949, there’s been no back-to-back winner and only Pin Up Boy in 1952-54 managed to win two.

While trainer Marc Conners said the gelding is “as good as last year” he offered a warning.

“The dry track is a worry because he likes the sting out of the ground,” he said.

“Maybe I’ll give the car a wash and send the run-off onto the track.”

With 2010 winning jockey Danny Nikolic not light enough for the ride, Conners has engaged in-form Jeff Penza who won four races at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

While Taree owner-trainer Ross Stitt could hold the key to the Cup with his up-and-coming star Southern Shimmer, nine locally trained horses remained in the field before scratchings.

Trainer Gordon Yorke will saddle up Rare Diamond and possibly two others but expects Southern Shimmer to be hard to beat.

“At the weights the rest of us shouldn’t get anywhere near him,” Yorke said.

“Everybody will give their best shot but this one is a horse on the up and won the Sawtell Cup like a good thing.

“Rare Diamond isn’t going anywhere as well as 12 months ago and she likes a wet track.

“But it wasn’t a bad third behind Southern Shimmer last start and if she can get across from the wide gate she may be an outside chance.”

Other local hopes include Power Quest, set for this race almost 18 months back by trainer Jim Jarvis.

However Jarvis said last week the race will be a lead-up to his main targets of the Port Macquarie and Lismore cups in coming weeks.

Coffs jockey Raymond Spokes has been given permission to ride Rage And Rave 0.5kg over for premier trainer Brett Bellamy and with the form on the board, shapes as a value bet.

“It’s probably best to nominate him one of the outsiders but he’s been going great lately and it’s hard to fault winning form,” Spokes said.

“He gets in close to the minimum weight and has won his last two at Gunnedah and Grafton.

“If I can get him across into a nice position and get luck in running, we’ll give it a real good go.”

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