The Joanne Hardy trained Bright Lights Baby is chasing a spot in the Country Championships final when she races at Grafton tomorrow.
The Joanne Hardy trained Bright Lights Baby is chasing a spot in the Country Championships final when she races at Grafton tomorrow. BRUCE THOMAS/TRACKSIDE PHOTOGRAP

In search of Randwick's Bright Lights

COFFS Harbour trainer Joanne Hardy has an eye on next month's Country Championships final at Royal Randwick but first her former Chris Waller-trained mare Bright Lights Baby will have to finish in the first two in this afternoon's Northern Rivers qualifier to get there.

The Manhattan Rain mare has won two races from seven starts for Hardy since joining her Coffs Harbour stable mid-year.

She won a Benchmark 59 over 1600m at Grafton on November 8 at her third run back from a spell then two starts later won a Class 2-SW over 1516m on a Soft 6 track at Lismore days before Christmas.

Bright Lights Baby is one of four Coffs Harbour trained horses to get a start in tomorrow's qualifier at Grafton.

Lawan from the Jim Jarvis stable has drawn a handy gate but Bright Lights Baby, Paul Smith's Ferniehirst and Brett Bellamy's Northern Knight will all be starting from wide barriers.

Another from Bellamy's Clarendon Lodge stable, last-start winner Super Tonic, is the fourth emergency in the field.

Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn dominates the 14-strong field with four starters and another two on top of that as emergencies.

Bright Lights Baby will have a weight advantage over the rest of the field tomorrow, carrying only 54kg with jockey Jason Taylor on board.

The four-year-old mare was purchased by Hardy's stable client, the Malaysian-based owner Tiang Tang at the Inglis Great Southern Sale in June.