Bog tracks, heavy rainfall and the threat of more to come has the Sydney race meetings scheduled for this weekend on the brink of abandonment.
Yesterday New South Wales’ Haweksbury meeting was cut just two races in after the ambulance became bogged on two occasions, the track found by stewards to be unsafe for racing.
Tonight Canterbury has a seven-race card scheduled, but with the track already a Heavy (9) with the rail +6 metres the entire circuit, there is a strong chance the Australian Turf Club (ATC) will be forced to call it off.
Should Canterbury’s twilight meet go ahead tonight it will be easy pickings for the punters at Luxbet with half the horses already officially scratched from the card.
Race fans are also eager to find out the fate of Saturday’s Warwick Farm race meeting, the eight-race program set to host the return of champion filly Karuta Queen.
The current Warwick Farm track rating is a Heavy (8), but with rain falling and more on the way the ATC’s executive general manger of racecourse management Lindsay Murphy knows things are very much touch-and-go.
“The weather is obviously very threatening and the forecast says we are going to cop a lot of rain in the next 24 hours,” Murphy said on Thursday afternoon.
“We will just have to wait and see.”
Even if the Warwick Farm race meeting does proceed tomorrow, the quality of contenders is set to suffer with a number of notable acceptors already being declared as unlikely starters.
Kembla Grange trainer Paul Murray this morning said he was leaning towards scratching his smart four-year-old Alma’s Fury from Warwick Farm Race 8 – the $70,000 Warwick Farm Handicap (1600m), and saving the Group performer for the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 25.
“He probably won’t be running because he won’t run on a heavy track or even if it’s slow,” Murray said.
“He just doesn’t handle it and his race is the last race of the day.
“I would say that he’ll go straight into the Apollo Stakes (instead).”
One Warwick Farm headliner that is will be there with bells on so long as the meeting gets the go ahead is the Neville Layt-trained Karuta Queen.
The Magic Millions winning filly is engaged to race first-up in the third on Saturday, the $70,000 www.tab.com.au Handicap (1000m) where she is the odds-on favourite at Luxbet.
Karuta Queen is yet to see a heavy track, but she did win her only Slow start to date when flying to a three length victory in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast last year.
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