James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
With heavy rain falling over most of New South Wales there are a number of race clubs whose weekend meetings may be in jeopardy.
Saturday’s eight race card at Newcastle is in the most danger of being cancelled or postponed after the track was downgraded to a Heavy 10, thanks to a deluge of rain.
“We have received 92mm of rain since Tuesday and although the track has a great drying capacity, we definitely need a break in the weather. We have our fingers crossed at this stage,” said general manager of the Newcastle Jockey Club John Curtis.
The Newcastle track has received 163mm of rain in the past seven days, however stewards will more than likely wait until Saturday morning before they make a definitive call on whether the meeting will go ahead.
The Warwick Farm surface has also been downgraded to a Heavy 10 after the track received 29mm of rain overnight and 73.5mm for the week.
The track was rated a Slow 7 on Wednesday but it has been continually downgraded as the rain has continued to fall.
“I’ve just walked the track and it is a heavy but there is a good pad of grass and the track is coping well. More rain is forecast but at this stage there is no problem with the meeting going ahead,” said Warwick Farm track manager James Cataldo.
However with heavy rain forecast for the surrounding area for Friday night and Saturday, there will be an element of luck involved in the Warwick Farm meeting going ahead.
As a result of the heavy track conditions, Motspur has been scratched from the At Sea Handicap, while Rightson and Honest Lies have also been withdrawn from the ATC Foundation Members Handicap.
Saturday’s meetings at Carinda (non-tab) and Gundagai have missed the worst of the weather and should go off without a hitch.
The Hawkesbury track is currently rated a Heavy 8 after they received 26mm of rain overnight, however they are confident the meeting will go ahead as planned on Sunday.
“We have missed the torrential rain that has hit Sydney and although some showers are forecast, we’re in pretty good shape for Sunday,” said Hawkesbury chief executive Brian Fletcher.
Coffs Harbour is also set down for Sunday and while the track is currently rated as a Slow 6, Coffs Harbour race club representative Mark Holloway said he was concerned about heavy rain hitting the area between now and Sunday’s meeting.
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