Coffs Harbour trainer Sally Taylor after a win at Doomben. She will saddle up six-year-old Rival Mo in Grafton tomorrow. Picture: Natasha Wood, Trackside Photography
Coffs Harbour trainer Sally Taylor after a win at Doomben. She will saddle up six-year-old Rival Mo in Grafton tomorrow. Picture: Natasha Wood, Trackside Photography

Coffs trainer Sally Taylor saddles up ‘frustrating mare’

COFFS trainers are riding their strongest ever calendar year, reports Neil Evans.

A string of Coffs Harbour stables will be represented at Tuesday's feature Grafton meeting and it might just be one of their more underrated trainers that strikes first with a frustrating mare who often threatens without delivering.

Sally Taylor saddles up six-year-old Rival Mo in a modest BM 58 Hcp (2230m) looking to break a run of outs that stretches back to January.

Mind you, Rival Mo has never been a smooth conveyance since debuting nearly three years ago. Even before that first run she had two stable changes, and five in all when Sally took charge of her only a few months ago.

Trainer Sally Taylor photographed after her horse Rednav won the Grafton Cup.
Trainer Sally Taylor photographed after her horse Rednav won the Grafton Cup.

Meanwhile, fellow Coffs trainer Warren Gavenlock shoots for two straight with his improving four-year-old Furphy in a Class 1 Hcp (1420m) after an impressive maiden win fourth-up at home.

But the highlight race - a Class 3 Hcp (1215m) to close the meeting - is where the Coffs connection can shake the life out of more fancied home track rivals.

Few runners around the region have more natural ability than six-year-old mare Alternative Facts, but she's as inconsistent as she is talented, and Gavenlock has been very sparing in his approach this prep.

It's easy to forget Alternative Facts finished close-up in a Highway and strong BM 66 back in summer before tackling a Country C'ship qualifier. But since then it's been a slow grind, and after returning with a flat run at Wyong, she has since won a trial and may just be ready to recapture her best at Grafton, ironically where she won her first race nearly two years ago.

Brett Bellamy’s Northern Knight will also race in Grafton on Tuesday
Brett Bellamy’s Northern Knight will also race in Grafton on Tuesday

Drawn just a few barriers further out, fellow Coffs galloper Northern Knight resumes for the Brett Bellamy yard, with the blinkers coming off. He also took on much stronger company last prep, including a fast-finishing effort in a Highway on the Kensington track in late autumn.

Both, though, will need to be at their best. Smart Far North Coast four-year-old Vivendo Il Sogno drops back from a stronger Class 3 at Doomben; while talented and in-form local gelding Bozeman looks hard to beat from a good draw.