The $2 million Inglis Millennium race meeting hinges on a stewards’ track inspection of Warwick Farm racecourse on Saturday morning.
Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel and Australian Turf Club officials will walk the Warwick Farm course proper just after a 5.30am track gallop.
Van Gestel will listen to the feedback from the two jockeys who are riding in the pre-dawn workout and then inspect the track to determine if Warwick Farm is suitable for racing.
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A heavy track won’t be a problem for star filly Cellsabeel in the Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Late Friday afternoon, Warwick Farm was bordering on a heavy 10 track rating with further rain, including heavy showers, forecast on Friday night.
There is another 80mm of rain forecast in the area on Saturday which places the nine-race Warwick Farm meeting in doubt. Racing NSW’s initial contingency plan had Rosehill Gardens as an alternative venue for the meeting but this was ruled out after Van Gestel inspected the Rosehill track on Friday.
“Rosehill didn’t present as any better than what we have seen at Warwick Farm,’’ Van Gestel said. “We feel Warwick Farm is going to give us the best option for racing.
“We just have to hope we don’t get the heavy downpour. If we only get some light showers I’m confident Warwick Farm will be safe for racing.’’
If Warwick Farm is washed out, switching the meeting to Sunday has already been ruled out given heavy rain is predicted through until Monday at least.
Racing NSW is looking at various options including the possibility of rescheduling the Inglis 2yo Millennium and Inglis 3yo Sprint to Warwick Farm next Wednesday.
But if stewards determine Warwick Farm is safe for racing, punters can be certain of a heavy 10 track surface and the need to find proven mudlarks.
Chief steward Marc Van Gestel will inspect the Warwick Farm track on Saturday morning. Picture: Jenny EvansSource:News Corp Australia
In the feature race, the Inglis Millennium, the only juvenile in the race that has competed on a heavy track is hot favourite Cellsabeel, who romped home by a widening six lengths on a heavy 8 surface at Rosehill last start.
The most accomplished Warwick Farm runners on heavy tracks including Kiamichi, who is $4.20 in betting for her comeback in the Group 3 $160,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m).
Kiamichi has raced twice on very wet tracks, winning the Magic Night Stakes easily on a heavy 10 track surface before backing up a week later to win the Golden Slipper on a track rated heavy 8.
Godolphin trainer James Cummings had Kiamichi entered for the Expressway Stakes last week but decided to wait for Warwick Farm given the wet weather that was forecast this week.
“The forecast of wet going will be to her liking and we are hoping that will offset the Group 1 penalty she will carry,’’ Cummings said.
Pandemic, an impressive winner first-up against older horses at Randwick and a stablemate of Kiamichi, is the $2.50 favourite for the Eskimo Prince Stakes.
“This is a better race, but to do what he did last start was a positive sign,’’ said Cummings of Pandemic who is untested on wet tracks.
Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi has excellent wet track form. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The Chris Waller-trained Wu Gok resumes in the Bowness Stud Mile (1600m) and although this distance is short of his best, the stayer is a superior wet-tracker with six wins from 10 attempts on heavy tracks.
Other proven winners on heavy tracks are Stella Sea Sun and Spiritual Pursuit (race 1), Dulette, Let’s Get Animal and Flora Bel (race 2), Off Shaw (race 6), Eastender, Gaulois, Hallelujah Boy, Sir Plush, Attention Run and Nicochet (race 8), and Ashlor, God Of Thunder and Miss Exfactor (race 9).
Heaven sent for shot at riches
Slice Of Heaven was bought for a song and named after one.
She might be the cheapest horse in the race, almost certainly is the smallest, but this filly is the epitome of what is good about thoroughbred racing.
As the saying goes that every man (or woman) is equal when they walk onto a racetrack, that is how the connections of Slice Of Heaven will be feeling when they assemble in the mounting yard before the $2 million Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Warwick Farm.
Their filly, Slice Of Heaven, cost only $10,000 at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale. Contrast this to the $1.7 million needed to buy Osamu at the Inglis Easter Sale.
But Slice Of Heaven has earned her place alongside Osamu, boom filly Cellsabeel and others in the Inglis Millennium field.
Slice Of Heaven with two co-owners Matt Knight and Ben Cooney.Source:Supplied
Her trainer, Wauchope-based Colt Prosser, conceded he was pleasantly surprised that Slice Of Heaven’s two bush starts — a debut second at Coffs Harbour before a maiden win at Grafton for $20,725 in prizemoney — would be enough to secure a start in the nation’s second-richest two-year-old race.
“I thought the Inglis Millennium might be a bit out of reach for us,’’ Prosser said. “I expected you would need city form and city prizemoney to get in but the race has fallen away a little and we have got into the field.
“The owners said, ‘let’s have a crack, we will only get one shot at it’.’’
Slice Of Heaven is by Coolmore’s exciting young stallion Rubick, sire of The Everest winner Yes Yes Yes, out of Heavensentme, a winner of a Newcastle maiden from 27 starts.
“As soon as Yes Yes Yes stood up I said we won’t be able to afford a Rubick next year,’’ Prosser said. “When this filly walked into the ring, she was a little bit more underdeveloped than what the city trainers look for but she looked like a little runner to me. I got her for $10,000 and had her sold before I even got her off the truck at home.’’
TAB market update: Inglis Millennium
TAB market update: Inglis Millennium
The filly’s syndicate of owners then had to come up with a name and, using her dam as inspiration, they arrived at Slice Of Heaven, the huge 1986 hit single for New Zealand singer-songwriter Dave Dobbyn that was part of the soundtrack for the animated film, Footrot Flats.
“I was a Footrot Flats fan when I was a kid so I thought it was a fantastic name,’’ Prosser said. “We all get around singing the song now.’’
Prosser said Slice Of Heaven had always shown plenty of natural speed and he believed her light frame would help her cope with the heavy track conditions.
“She has always been a precocious filly,’’ the trainer said.
“Grafton was soft the other day when she won and she seemed to skip through it.
“Because she is a small filly she is very light on her feet. She is a forward-running filly so barrier 14 might not be the worst place to be either on a wet track.’’
Originally published asFingers crossed rain won’t wash away Farm meeting
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