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Many locals at Coffs Harbour are using flippers and a snorkel to get around town yet Tuesday’s race meeting is odds-on to go ahead as scheduled.

Last week Coffs was buffeted by rain and received enough rainfall in 36 hours to launch Noah’s Ark – in fact 210 millimetres or just under 8½ inches in the old scale. But Coffs Harbour Racing Club officials are adamant Tuesday’s seven-race TAB meeting will go ahead.

“It was incredible the amount of rain we had and our new drainage system has been working overtime,” said CHRC’s racing manager, Tim Saladine. “However, we’re confident the meeting will go ahead with free entry.”

Coffs Harbour had a reputation of being a poor wet-weather performer prior to Racing NSW investing in a new drainage system in January 2015 that has worked wonders. Over a period of around six months the Coffs Harbour course proper received ‘slit drainage’ with pipes laid every three metres.

The pipes went the circumference of the track as well up the chutes. Now when it rains the water falls into the slits and into a sealed ring main inside the course before travelling underneath the course proper and into tanks from where the water is then pumped away from the track.

Meanwhile, Illawarra Turf Club will be hoping the weather has turned around for its Provincial Championships Raceday this Thursday. The club had to abandon Saturday’s Kembla Grange race meeting after the course was hit with 162mls (6.4 inches) in the 24 hours leading up to the cancellation.

Its heat four of the Provincial qualifier events with the race named after legendary Kembla-based trainer, Bede Murray.

“We also have a Rising Star Series heat with free entry, a free BBQ meal and a free drink for all,” said ITC’s racing manager, Michael Craig.

The $150,000 Provincial Championships Qualifier attracted 39 entries including a number from local trainers Gwenda Markwell (3), Kerry Parker (2), Theresa Bateup (2), Robert & Luke Price (1), Donna Grisedale (1), Paul Murray (1) and Stephen Hill (1).

The nine horses already through to the $400,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday 8 April are: Noble Joey, Better Not Blue, Princess Posh, Shazee Lee, Budderoo Knight, Reiby Rampart, Pomelo, Heavenly Anna and Dream Lane.

Scone trainer Greg Bennett, who won last year’s Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick with Clearly Innocent, will start runners for the last time at his home on Tuesday.

Bennett has quit training and will soon commence with Aquis Farm in Queensland where he will oversee the education of the company’s racing stock.

Bennett’s final three Scone runners are Inforawaltz, La Enganadora and Ancaschoca. Last year he finished the racing season with a healthy 43 winners and 61 placegetters.

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