WARRNAMBOOL Racing Club officials are confident wild weather lashing the region will not affect their much-anticipated feature on Sunday.
Chief executive officer John Green yesterday believed the track would recover from the almost 35 millimetres of rain which has fallen on Warrnambool since Monday.
“Very early in the week we had significant rainfall but we’re one of the few (clubs) who like to see the strong winds. It assists in drying the course out,” he said.
“Obviously we’ll keep an eye on the weather. The worse of it seems to have passed at the moment.
“Fingers crossed for the rest of the week. An inch of rain on Tuesday morning and another six millimetres this morning, it’s significant rainfall.
“But typically within 24 hours our track drainage is successful in evacuating any excess water.
“Then it’s a slow process dependent on the prevailing weather conditions how quickly the track improves from there.”
Green said he expected between 800 and 1000 people to be trackside for the meeting, which includes two showcase jumps races.
The $100,000 Thackeray Steeplechase (3450 metres) has attracted 10 nominations while the $100,000 Kevin Lafferty Hurdle (3600 metres) could have 13 starters.
A third maiden hurdle over 3200 metres has 11 nominations.
All up, trainers have nominated 242 horses for the five flat and three jumps races.
The running rail for the flat races will go back to the true position after being out eight metres for the club’s last meeting on June 10.
“It’s good prizemoney. Because we’re the MR meeting we get the higher of the prizemoney. It’s one of the few Sunday meetings for the year we get that,” Green said.
“It’s great to see when Racing Victoria (RVL) takes the opportunity to support us with the increased prizemoney, the local participants want to compete.”
The Thackeray field features five of the first six horses across the line in the 2013 edition, including two-length winner Bashboy, which will carry 72 kilograms.
The Ciaron Maher-trained 10-year-old will renew a growing rivalry with Kirribilli Gold (65.5kg) and Cats Fun (66.5kg), which he beat into places regularly last year.
A vet examination after the Mosstrooper Steeplechase at Bendigo on June 15, which revealed an irregular heartbeat, had threatened to derail Bashboy’s career.
But stewards have given Maher the green light for the gelding to continue racing after several electrocardiographs and a gallop.
“The vets conducted an ECG following the race and then again the next day and within 24 hours the heart rhythm was completely normal,” Maher said.
“Several ECGs have been conducted since then, including one after his official gallop and everything was completely normal. I’ve been told horses that experience the condition have a high rate of success upon their return to racing and I’m really happy with how he’s looking.”
In-form Krase (64.5kg), out of the Patrick Payne stable, Bill Williams’ Berlizoz (64kg) and Graeme Smith’s Half Moon Rising (64kg) are also chasing Thackeray success.
The Kevin Lafferty has attracted Aaron Purcell’s Divi Filius (64kg) and Bill and Symon Wilde’s Finley Harper (64kg), which won two of two of her three jumps starts.
Maythehorsebemagic, trained by Darren Weir is the only horse nominated for both the steeplechase and hurdle feature and has attracted 68.5kg and 69kg respectively.