Trainer Rob Wellington knows just how tough it has been for racing on the border so to have Tuesday’s Albury meeting cleared to proceed is a bonus in itself.
Wellington is striving to make the most of the home track meeting with three runners headed by Funky Farm ($3.50 on TAB), Nevada Dane ($6.50) and Saint Henry ($2.30 favourite).
It has been one thing after another at Albury with its July meeting transferred due to concerns with coronavirus and the club’s cup meeting in March going ahead, but without crowds.
Just to have a meeting back at home will be something of a step back to normality although there are again restrictions with public attendees.
Wellington is only concerned about the races being on albeit on a heavy 10 after stewards passed the track safe for racing on Monday.
“We like to race at Albury and it will be good just to get back there,” Wellington said. “I’m taking three horses and they all look good chances even though the track will be very heavy.”
Wellington will stick with female apprentice jockey Madison Waters on Funky Farm, while she will also reduce the weight of Nevada Dane by 3kg. Senior jockey Amanda Masters will partner Saint Henry who is looking to break through for his first win in the Maiden (1600m).
“Amanda suggested trying blinkers on him because he appeared to be field shy. He has had them on for his past two starts and has finished much closer coming in second and fourth,” he said.
Wellington’s best winning chances rest with Funky Farm, who has provided his owners with plenty of success at big prices, also recent Narrandera winner, Nevada Dane.
Funky Farm is yet to win in nine starts at Albury, but did finish second on a heavy track there in June.
Wellington said Funky Farm appeared to struggle on an Albury track appeared to other places, but he is hoping the gelding can run up to his last start on a heavy surface at Wagga.
“This is his first time over a mile and he has always given me the opinion that he would like the extra distance,” Wellington said.
“He just managed to win over 1400m at Gundagai in November and is back up to that distance again. Hopefully, he can dictate terms in front and it’s not an overly strong race in his class.”
Funky Farm was purchased off the internet and has won at huge odds of $100 and $20 in the past. The odds won’t be as long on Tuesday, but the horse with the catchy name has a lot in his favour on Tuesday.
“He had a bit of extra weight so the claim will bring him in with 55.5kg which is a big help on a heavy track,” Wellington suggested.
“It’s the same with Nevada Dane who is having his first try at 1175m and the three kilograms off will bring him in well compared to his main dangers.”