The meeting at Coffs Harbour on Thursday wasn’t the strongest on paper, but upon watching replays and looking at sectional times, there are coming winners to come out of it.
So below is a review of the meeting and a horse or two to follow.
The track was put out as a soft five, but after Race 2 it went to a soft six. If you’re going off times, the track was nowhere near a soft six. Throughout the meeting, it was a good four, the very low end of soft five at worst, and the times would suggest that. Pay attention to that when doing the form from this meeting, because it’ll be deceptive on paper in the form guide.
Sustained speed from the front will win you more races than you lose. Nicci Trix fits that criteria. The three times she has led, twice she has won, including at this Thursday meeting. The win was electric, leading throughout, smashing the clock (eight lengths faster than the 1000-metre maiden), and produced the best last 600 metres of the meeting. When you are doing that from the front, you are cooking with gas. There is a 1000-metre Highway next Saturday at Randwick. I’d love to see her head there and see where she sits. She’s above average.
Country Championship contender
Northern Knight won his fourth career race, so the Highways are off the table now, but another crack at qualifying for the Country Championships is not. This was one of the wins of the day. This horse produced a brilliant turn of foot and clocked 11.02 between the 400-200, the best by two lengths. Then in the last 200 metres he clocked 11.50, which was the quickest by three lengths. I’d love to see him freshened up and then have another crack at qualifying, something he has failed to do in 2018 and earlier this year.
There was plenty to like about Henschel and his win over 1200 metres. This horse led throughout and he just kept running, winning by over six lengths and running really sharp time relative to the meeting. This was really good placement by Allan Denham. He’s not known to travel a horse this far from his base at Wyong but it was worth the trip for all concerned. The country races are his level but with his rating going up, he’ll likely have to head back to the provincials, where he’ll be very competitive.
Can win next start
There was plenty of merit in the performance of Stonecold Flex in the last over 1300 metres. He had to use a lot of petrol tickets to find the front, running the first 700 metres in around 41 seconds, so he was always going to be vulnerable late and that’s how it panned out, with Power Bells surging late to get up and win. With a more controlled setting of a tempo next start, Stonecold Flex can be in the winners list.
Follow Kris at Coffs
Kris Lees is one of the leading trainers in NSW, and in recent years he has been sending horses to the North Coast to find the race. In the last 12 months, Coffs Harbour has been his hunting ground. He has had 30 runners at the track for ten winners and six placings for a 49.7 per cent ROI, which is a very high number for any trainer at any track. He has a 4.6 per cent ROI at Port Macquarie and a 30 per cent ROI at Grafton, so follow him with confidence when he sends runners to those tracks.