Race campaigner steals show
By STEVE SPINKS
A TOP old campaigner stole the show at the Ballina Jockey Club's TAB meeting yesterday.
Planet Lover, an eight-year-old chestnut gelding, romped home over the final 300 metres to win the feature race ? Crown Lager Australia's Finest Open Handicap (1600m).
The 57-race veteran showed that he will still take some beating locally, despite the fact that his best days are behind him.
Counter Agent and the Ballina-trained Jimmy Walasko filled the minor placings.
Planet Lover is trained in Coffs Harbour by Brett Bellamy, who has only had the gelding for 18 months.
During his peak, the eight-year-old was placed in Sydney at the Country Cup while being trained by Michael Buyer, of Taree.
"He's won a few for Brett," Ballina Jockey Club course announcer, Gary Kliese, said.
"He ran well to take second behind Mosby here on Boxing Day, with Graeme Birney aboard.
"But his last race here (January 8), he had an inexperienced apprentice on."
Planet Lover finished fourth that day, once again behind Mosby.
However, with Birney back as the rider yesterday, it was the old campaigner who triumphed over a strong field including the horse that had vanquished it twice ... Mosby.