Now, for Lismore
BRISBANE trainer Barry Lockwood won himself his first Northern Rivers cup when favourite Playitstraight arrived just in time to win the $50,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m) in a front ofa large crowd yesterday.
Now Lockwood is planning to aim for a second local cup and step the horse up in distance in the XXXX Gold Lismore Cup (2100m) on September 26.
"I have three options but Lismore is at the top of the list," Lockwood said.
"There is the Port Macquarie Cup but it attracts Sydney horses and might be too hard, there is a race at Eagle Farm, a track he loves, and there is Lismore.
"I like going to Lismore.
"I took a maiden there a couple of months ago and it won and I think the track will suit Playitstraight.
"He has never won beyond 1600 metres but he is matured now and has learned to settle and races like a middle-distance horse."
Playitstraight, ridden by Brisbane apprentice Ashley Butler, came from third early to overhaul the locally trained top weight Muhaajir in the shadows of the post.
A large cheer went up when Tony Patillo surged Muhaajir to the lead on the turn and the former Melbourne winner, now trained by John Hubbard, kicked several lengths clear.
Patillo rode desperately but Playitstraight gradually wore him down to win by a head with the Taree-trained Phrases a further two lengths away third.
Injury-prone six-year-old Mount Kosciuszko reached the summit of his career so far when he stormed home to win the Tursa Newmarket (1000m).
It was only the second time that Ipswich trainer Brian Costello, who bred the horse, has had a runner at Ballina.
"I'll be back, though, especially after the announcement about re-building the track," Costello said.
"We have had all sorts of problems with this horse's fee.
"He wasn't going well so I eased him out of training and we re-shod him and lifted his heels up and it seems to have worked.
"This horse is no slouch.
"He has been placed in town in Saturday company and we may head back that way now or set him for the Warwick Newmarket.
"I race this horse with my brother Jim and son Matt."
Jockey Terry Treichel settled Mount Kosciuszko in fourth place early, went around the leader Cyclone Brad in the straight and went on to beat the fast-finishing Spurtastic.
The favourite Alltherightmoves got well back early and made up little ground in the straight.