RACING returned to Lismore yesterday with three locally trained gallopers prevailing over powerful stables from the north and south.
Stephen Lee, Danny Bowen and Robina Todd held the fort for the locals, with John Shelton and Bruce Swan making it five wins for Northern Rivers stables.
Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour claimed the other winners’ cheques.
Lee’s was the most stunning winner of the day – a first starter named Calamine scoring a comfortable win in the Byron Bay Manor Maiden Handicap to break its maiden early, and in class record time over 1100m.
The three-year-old filly by Honours List jumped on the bunny and never surrendered the lead, stopping the clock at 1:04.17 with Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley on board – the time was almost half-a-second faster than what the boys ran in the previous race.
With no exposed form apart from a barrier trail in the mud, Calamine was sent out at $13 on the tote and even longer on track but never looked like doing anything but winning.
Whiteley, who only picked up two late rides after Joshua Jones fell ill, finished up with a winning double after spurring Bold ‘n’ Brown to break its maiden for Shelton.
Gold Coast lady connection of Maryann Brosnan and Laura Cheshire took out the main event – the Booyong Pork Cup (1200m) – with Carnegie gelding At The Roxy.
Cheshire and At The Roxy broke the racing pattern of the day – the first four winners led all the way – to come from well back in the field and score by a nose.
Heavily backed favourite Bonboniere Lady didn’t fire a shot and finished midfield after romping in by seven lengths at Casino last week.
Ballina combination Bowen and Marlon Dolendo continued their strong association when Mainsail made it two in a row in the 1400m benchmark 60 race.
Coming off a strong win at long-odds on his home track four weeks ago, Mainsail stalked the leaders into the straight before grabbing the win in a photo. The improving type now has three wins and three placings from 12 starts.
Club secretary Michael Timbrell was delighted that course records could be broken on a track that was rated a heavy (8) through the week.
Three days of sunshine and temperatures up to 40 degrees on race day ensured the quick times with the races being run on a good (3).
While there were a handful of horses that struggled in the heat, none were serious enough to withdraw and it was mainly the bookies under the tin shed, unable to retreat to the air conditioned rooms, who felt it most.