Trainer’s sinking feeling Wet track hits triple assault on big race
THE big wet has put a dampener on Townsville trainer Bub Baker’s expectations heading into today’s $ 150,000 Office Choice Pen to Paper QTIS 600 Two-Year-Old Plate ( 1200m) at Cluden Park.
Baker just had to look at the grey clouds hanging heavily over Cluden Park late yesterday to concede Mother Nature might have his trio of runners beaten today.
The big reputation of Pallarenda Stakes winner He’s So Tempting, impressive bloodlines of What a Dragon and strong barrier draw for Apache Crazy Horse in gate two aren’t about to convince Baker otherwise.
‘‘ If it was dry, then I reckon I would be in there with a real chance,’’ he said.
‘‘ If it’s wet I’m no chance at all, it’s a simple fact.
‘‘ Neither one of the three will want to go in it at all.’’ It’s when the going has been good that He’s So Tempting has shone, winning on debut and following up with a second placing in Atherton last year.
If it was a numbers game, Baker puts it plainly: ‘‘ Anything after ( a dead) four and he’s in trouble’’.
Having worked on the Cluden Park track for years, Baker holds a good insight into the conditions.
While brief showers continued through the afternoon he held hope of the meeting going ahead. Anything resembling a downpour, however, and he feared another costly delay.
But even Baker is one of the fortunate ones, residing just across the road from the track in Wulguru.
Those from the Far North, however, might not even make it in sight of the city limits with the Bruce Highway cut by floodwaters.
Townsville Turf Club chief executive Michael Charge said almost 35 percent of runners entered for the meeting could be stranded, crippling the second richest race day in the North.
‘‘ The main race is actually the one least affected,’’ Charge said.
‘‘ We are just hoping we see those guys from up north get through for it.’’
Cairns trainer Fred Wieland didn’t like his chances yesterday as he followed weather conditions and reports to the south.
Wieland said he would wait until the early hours of today to decide if he would attempt the drive and give highly fancied prospect Miss Honahlee a crack at the hefty purse.
‘‘ We’ll just have to wait and see what’s going on, make a few phone calls first thing in the morning,’’ Wieland said.
Wieland hadn’t given up hope of claiming the victory after the race was postponed from Tuesday, getting Miss Honahlee back to work as normal.
Conversley, the six-strong Craiglea Stud team from down south has escaped the worst and are expected to come through from Bowen today without trouble.
If so, Baker believes the race will be run on Craiglea Romeo’s terms, despite the Sunshine Coast colt coming off a heavy travel schedule and horror draw of barrier 19.
HOPE FLOATS: Bub Baker with He’s So Tempting yesterday