Mes­sara’s stay­ing on Weather watch

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICK­SON

WEATHERLY (pic­tured) may be a day to day propo­si­tion but trainer Paul Mes­sara is cer­tain the tal­ented colt has lost none of his abil­ity.

Af­ter sev­eral stop-start prepa­ra­tions, the three-yearold is ready for a be­lated re­turn at Can­ter­bury to­mor­row, though in which race is up in the air.

Mes­sara has ac­cepted for both Sch­weppes Hand­i­cap (1100m) against his own age and the Listed $150,000 Can­ter­bury Clas­sic (1200m) where he’s sec­ond emer­gency.

“Prob­a­bly the 1100m is a bit more suit­able,” Mes­sara said.

“Go­ing for­ward at Can­ter­bury is a bit of a death ride so we will prob­a­bly have to him con­ser­va­tively from a wide bar­rier in the 1200m.

“Out of eight run­ners in the other race we’d try to set­tle mid­field.”

Weatherly promised be one of the lead­ing young­sters head­ing to­wards the Golden Slip­per when he burst onto the scene win­ning Talin­dert Stakes at Flem­ing­ton in Fe­bru­ary.

He was ruled out of the Golden Slip­per when he pulled up shin shore fol­low­ing his third place in a small Tod­man Stakes field.

From there he’s had “quite a lot of prob­lems”, ac­cord­ing to Mes­sara.

“He had a trapped epiglot­tis, and he had to have an op­er­a­tion for that, and he got crook and had a few other is­sues,” he said.

“As soon as we’ve got him close to rac­ing some­thing has popped up and had to start again.

“We planned to have him ready in the lead up to the Golden Rose, that was main aim, so it has been a long road get­ting him there.”

Mes­sara, who trains five horses at Scone in be­tween his du­ties as studmas­ter at Ar­row­field, scratched Weatherly from the Vil­liers meet­ing Rand­wick two weeks ago but is keen to get him up and run­ning with a view to the au­tumn carnival.

He won cou­ple of of­fi­cial bar­rier tri­als in late Oc­to­ber and early Novem­ber.

“It’s been such a long time off he needs to go back to the races, the com­pe­ti­tion,” said.

“I have him as fit as I can with­out go­ing to the races but he will im­prove a lot with rac­ing.

“He has a lot of abil­ity, there is no doubt about that, just get­ting him there safe and sound is the dif­fi­cult part.

“A few days in his life is like six months a reg­u­lar horse be­cause things tend to go wrong with him.”

Due to the long lay-off and in­ter­rupted prepa­ra­tion, Mes­sara is cau­tious about his win­ning chances though ob­vi­ously his best is good enough to be very com­pet­i­tive.

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