A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
Rodney Northam is on weather watch in Queensland before confirming whether his veteran sprinter Big Money takes his spot in Doomben’s 2017 George Moore Stakes or runs in Sydney on Saturday.
Brisbane has been drenched by heavy rainfall on Wednesday and conditions are not set to ease ahead of the Group 3 $200,000 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben Racecourse on the weekend.
The George Moore Stakes field has attracted 14 hopefuls but already that number is looking like being depleted due to the torrential early summer storms.
Local horseman Chris Munce will delay the resuming run of the former Hawkes Racing-trained Snoopy should the Doomben track get into the Heavy range, and the Scone-based Northam is likely to do the same with his acceptor Big Money.
At final acceptance stage on Wednesday the course proper at Doomben was rated a Soft (5).
Northam has plans to send Choisir eight-year-old Big Money to the “sunshine” state on Thursday, but travel plans could be thwarted by the rain gods.
“At this stage I’m sending him to Brisbane on Thursday and we’ll see what happens with the weather,” Northam told Racing Queensland on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to start him on a Heavy track but if only five to 10 millimetres of rain falls as predicted then he’ll run.”
Originally Big Money, who won the 2014 edition of the George Moore Stakes, was set to race in the Listed Keith Noud Quality at Doomben a fortnight back but the race was one of the three washed out events on the card.
The rescheduled edition of the George Moore Stakes lead-up ran on November 22 at Ipswich and was won by the Darryl Hansen-trained Monsieur Gustave who now chases Saturday’s Group 3 from the outside barrier 14 draw.
Big Money meanwhile was saved from that race, and instead contested Newcastle trial for third over 1000m.
“I took him to Newcastle for a barrier trial after the Keith Noud was washed out,” Northam said.
“It was only a fair trial but he was entitled to trial average after the travelling up to Brisbane and back.”
Big Money has not managed to enjoy a turf triumph since his Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) win at Randwick back in February of 2016.
He was runner-up to multiple Group 1 winner Le Romain in the same race this autumn, before his distant 11th to Russian Revolution at Rosehill on a Heavy (10) track in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
Sent to the paddock after two more failed runs in May, Big Money resumed at Royal Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day finishing just a quarter-length back third in the Choisir Handicap (1100m).
Northam believes he has the horse ready to go on the weekend and has Rosehill’s Listed $125,000 Starlight Stakes (1100m) on Festival Stakes Day as the ‘Plan B’ option.
“He’s been a great horse even though he hasn’t won for a while,” Northam said.
“His first up run at Randwick was very good and if he runs he’ll go well.
“His overall form since he won the George Moore and Lough Neagh three years ago has been fair and it hasn’t affected his benchmark rating which is still high.”
To get behind Big Money this weekend at the right summer racing odds online head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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