LONGEST RACE: The Ken Howard Cup over 2000m was won by Bold And Groovy on August 2.
LONGEST RACE: The Ken Howard Cup over 2000m was won by Bold And Groovy on August 2. Trevor Veale

Staying races back in vogue on NRRA programs

COFFS Harbour Racing Club (CHRC) and Nambucca River Jockey Club (NRJC) will participate in a new Spring Stayers Series introduced to the Northern Rivers Racing Association.

A 1900m event will be scheduled on Coffs Harbour's November 6 Melbourne Cup Day program while Bowraville has a 2200m race set down for December 1.

Set weights staying races were once the norm on country programs until the 1990's but have become something of a poor relation since.

But with the pressure on city stables to get quick returns, high-priced horses with stout pedigrees are being sent bush in the hope of paying their way in lesser company and this has seen a need created.

CHRC manager Tim Saladine said he is very supportive of the move.

"We have actually lost horses that were sent down south looking for longer races because they were hard to program up here," he said.

"Lately the numbers of potential stayers and middle distances horses has risen and the series could encourage more owners and trainers to persevere."

One trainer thrilled by the decision is Jim Jarvis who was forced to send two of his staying breds, Clemmensen and Chippawa, back to Victorian trainer Quinton Scott to be prepared for distance races when nothing suitable was on offer here.

"The idea was to prepare both to go over the hurdles but it's possible we may bring Chippawa back if the staying races continue," he said.

'They both won over ground when they went south.

"I'm a bit surprised Coffs will get a 1900m race as we have one of the best 2300m starts in Australia.

"However, it's a good thing and I have one in the stable now called Tam 'O' Shanter being developed as a stayer and I'm looking forward to winning one with it soon."

Lack of middle distance nominations was one reason why the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup was brought back from 2000m to the metric mile a few years back.

The only CHRC event of note which isn't a sprint is the Ken Howard Cup run this year over 2000m but in other years over 2100m and 2300m.