By Ray Hickson
A couple of 15 minute sessions in a salt room is the secret weapon trainer Danny Williams is hoping will bring out the best of his trio in Saturday’s $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick.
Favourite Don’t Give A Damn, Pumpkin Pie and Acquittal all had their first experience of the natural treatment on Thursday.
Williams said the salt room idea had been suggested to him a few times and thought on the eve of the Country Championships the timing was perfect.
“I’ve been aware of salt treatment for quite a while, it’s something that is slowly coming into horse racing,’’ he said.
“It’s been known to decrease things like asthma, respiratory conditions, skin allergies whether it be eczema and things like that in people. It’s an overall health thing.
“They are coming back on Friday for another session. It helps to clean out any bacteria in the airways, we’re using it to make sure we are covering all bases.’’
The Williams trio have really been pampered this week – aside from the salt room they’ve been seen by a chiropractor and even had a massage.
He said the concept has a nebulising effect and is a little like a steam room.
All three horses appeared to relish it – in the case of Muswellbrook Wild Card winner Don’t Give A Damn (shown in the video from Danny Williams above) it’s continued his recovery from a raft of problems since his failure in the Goulburn Qualifier.
“They quite enjoyed it, they were licking the walls,’’ he said.
“He’s done better this week than he has for the last fortnight. We were constantly icing and poulticing him to get soreness out of the corns.
“He’s absolutely thrived, he looks heavier and he’s much happier for the run. I think he could have improved two or three lengths from Muswellbrook so I’m very excited.
“He was going into it very much vulnerable and he has come out of it shining.’’
Don’t Give A Damn shares favouritism with Suncraze at $4.20 with TAB but Williams said he’s not underestimating stablemate Pumpkin Pie ($8.50) or Acquittal ($14).
Pumpkin Pie ran fifth in last year’s Country Championships Final on a heavy track and he said she’s going at least as well in 2018 and will race on her preferred good ground.
“What we’ve been able to do with her is concentrate on this Saturday with her,’’ he said.
“She’s had three jump outs and been to the beach at Moruya.
Don't Give A Damn wins the Wild Card at Muswellbrook last Sunday
“She comes into it very fresh but she is going to have everything go her way. If you go back through her form she has better form than most of these, running in Group races.’’
Acquittal, who ran third at Goulburn, was promoted into the field when Kopi Luwak had to be scratched in the days leading up to the Muswellbrook Wild Card.
Williams said that messed with his preparation a little, as he had factored in running over 1280m last Sunday, but added the three-year-old looks the best in the coat that he’s ever seen.
“He’s gone a dark brown with dapples on him but he’s probably the most vulnerable of the three,’’ he said.
“I thought his run in the qualifier was as good as anything, including Kopi and Pumpkin Pie. He was in the gates for eight minutes, missed the start, raced four deep and ran the best sectionals for the final 600m.’’
Meanwhile, Williams said Kopi Luwak's foot abscess has burst and the bruising is slowly recovering and he will be heading to the spelling paddock shortly. He's likely to be aimed at the Anniversary Highway on Everest Day.