Howells' precious Gem makes home track return
OPEN HANDICAP: Coastal Gem is getting back into the swing of things today with her run at the Shamardashing Open Handicap 1200m.
The chestnut mare, who usually runs a solid 2000m race, is heading into her next preparation coming off the back of an 18-week spell.
For trainer Greg Howells, the 1200m is all about easing Coastal Gem back onto the track.
"You can't go around the 2000m first off,” Howells said. "It's all about getting a bit of fitness back into her.”
With a few chances on the track, Howells said he'd be happy with a good effort by the mare.
"You always hope they do well - if she runs a nice race or a quality race, I'll be happy,” he said.
"As long as she goes down and pulls up, I'll be happy.”
As long as the weekend's predicted stormy weather doesn't soften the track too much, Howells says the five-year-old will be okay.
"She handles the wet but she wouldn't be running first if it turned out a heavy track,” he said.
Riding Coastal Gem will be jockey Kasie Stanley, who has a tried-and-true history on the horse.
"She's won a couple on her back in the Gold Coast,” Howells said.
Overall, he has been very happy with Coastal Gem's performance.
"I paid $6000 for her and she's earned about $75,000,” he said.
"She's lovely, quiet and she works well enough.”
Today's race will be Coastal Gem's first run since her run in Lismore at the beginning of the race season.