By Geoff Newling
Plonka ($6.50 on TAB) will jump barrier 16 but that horrific draw might not be as bad as it seems, her Coffs Harbour trainer said in the lead-up to Saturday’s $150,000 Newhaven Park Northern Rivers Racing Association Country Championships Qualifier at Coffs Harbour.
Warren Gavenlock prepares the five-year-old gelding for the Greenhaven Park Stud and has won four races from 16 starts with the son of Epaulette. He’s also earned his stable just under $240,000 in prizemoney.
“I believe I have the best horse in the race,” Warren Gavenlock said while labelling the 16 barrier as “disappointing and a bit deflating", he added "But I do have the best rider (Matt McGurren).
“Good horses and riders put themselves in the best spots and there is a lot of speed underneath me too.”
He’s hoping he might get a cart across into a good spot “just in behind the speed and ready to pounce”.
“My horse has got city form too, he’s rumbled with the big boys. Let’s hope his class gets him there.”
Plonka won his maiden race at Tamworth and has won a Highway Handicap in Sydney (Rosehill). He also won last year’s NRRA Country Championships Qualifier at Grafton after it was originally scheduled at Coffs but rained out.
Warren hopes the Coffs Harbour Racing Club has a “dry” run through to the weekend. The track is currently rated a Soft 5 and the fields are good with eight races dispensing $370,000 in prizemoney.
“If I can’t win let’s hope one of the other Coffs trainers does,” he added.
CHRC general manager Tim Saladine is also of the same opinion while feeling sorry for Gavenlock.
“They must be devastated with the gate,” Tim Saladine said of the barrier 16 draw. “Shattered but you never know, it could get a soft run in behind and if he can be close he’d hard to beat.”
Tim Feels the Paul Smith-trained Northern Wilderose ($10) might be “the horse to beat”.
“Ray Spokes and gate 3,” he offers as two good winning factors. “It’s a good field and our locals are all a chance. I think four of the top six in TAB betting are Coffs horses.”