Listed Winter Challenge rescheduled

The Listed Winter Challenge will be added to next weekend’s Rosehill program after it was one of nine races lost when Randwick was called off after the first event on Saturday.

With the track already rated a heavy 10 to start the card, a downpour of rain that began prior to the opening race and continued during its running limited visibility for riders and left an unsafe amount of surface water.

The seven jockeys who rode in the Elite Sand & Soil Handicap (1200m) approached stewards after the race to voice their concerns and the decision was made to end the afternoon early.

Kerrin McEvoy who partnered third placegetter Tintookie, said conditions had become unsafe to continue.

“It’s visibility. The track is saturated and it is unsafe ground to gallop on, especially with the big fields later on in the day,’ McEvoy said.

“The first three got through it but the others didn’t. It was really testing.”

Winning rider Tommy Berry echoed McEvoy’s sentiments and said the wet winter was taking its toll.

“There is so much fill in the track and with so much rain having fallen already this year, the water has nowhere to go,” Berry said.

“Even my bloke, although he has won by (almost) three lengths, didn’t feel comfortable in the ground. I don’t think any horse will feel comfortable in the ground.”

Randwick track manager Michael Wood revealed the course had already received almost double its average annual rainfall and 350mm in July alone.

While it was safe for racing when inspected early on Saturday morning, further rain pushed it over the edge.

“There has been more than 1900mm of rainfall at Randwick for the year to date, that is about 1000mm over our average yearly rainfall,” Wood said.

“I think the meeting would have been fine without a massive downpour and the visibility problems in the first.”

The fact the next two races scheduled had big fields was also a factor in the stewards’ decision to abandon the meeting.

Chief stipe Marc Van Gestel said that after assessing footage from the opening race, the stewards agreed with jockeys that racing could not continue.

“Michael Wood and his team pushed the rail out 12 metres to try and get away from the wear and tear, but it still results in us being in a position we are not safe to race on,” Van Gestel said.

“We are trying to keep these meetings on, but we can only work with what we are presented.”

Racing officials confirmed the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) would be pushed back one week to replace a benchmark 88 race at Rosehill next Saturday.

Trainer Kris Lees had scratched Mugatoo from the feature due to the heavy track and indicated he would be renominated, although the 2021 All-Star Mile winner was more likely to trial at Scone midweek.

Horses scheduled to contest the July Sprint (1100m) will also be offered another option at Rosehill in a benchmark 94, while the remaining races on the Randwick program have been abandoned.

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

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