By Greg Prichard
Trainer Glen Milligan will run his Newhaven Park Country Championships contenders Tayla’s One and Lion Class either this Friday or Saturday after Sunday’s race meeting at Taree was washed out.
Racing NSW Stewards postponed the meeting after a track inspection early on Sunday that followed 120mm of rain in the previous 24 hours.
Milligan needs to get another race into Tayla’s One and Lion Class to properly fit them for the $150,000 MNCRA Newhaven Park Country Championships Qualifier over 1400m at Tuncurry on February 24.
The first and second placegetters will qualify for the $1 million Newhaven Park Country Championships Final over 1400m at Royal Randwick on April 6.
The pair were scheduled to run in the Sunrise Cundletown Country Boosted Championship Preview Class 4 Handicap over 1250m at Taree on Sunday until the bad weather intervened.
Another Taree meeting was already due for this coming Friday and Milligan will look at the Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1250m that is a part of that program.
The other alternative for the Taree trainer is to run Tayla’s One and Lion Class at Saturday’s Newcastle meeting in a Benchmark 68 Handicap over 1200m.
“They’ll definitely go around on Friday or Saturday,” Milligan said. “We’ll nominate for both meetings and see which is our best option.
“My two horses would get big weights in a Benchmark 58 at Taree.
"In a 68 at Newcastle they’d get much less, but that would involve travelling down while at Taree they just walk across from the stable to the track. So there’s a bit to weigh up.”
Milligan’s other Country Championships contender, That’s Molly, will go into the qualifier first-up from a spell. The mare has already won five races and couldn’t have afforded another win ahead of the qualifier as that would’ve made her ineligible for the series.
Milligan has fitted That’s Molly for the qualifier with three barrier trials and plenty of solid trackwork and he says she is already in great condition for the race.
“Molly is ready to go,” he said. “She could’ve raced on the weekend just gone if the qualifier had been on then. I won’t mind the wet weather sticking around for her - she loves the wet."
Not much rain is forecast for the Taree district in the days leading up to Friday’s meeting, leaving the club optimistic it will go ahead.
“We’re due a few showers, but nothing like what we got before Sunday’s meeting,” said Manning Valley Race Club's CEO, Damien Toose.
“Fingers crossed we’ll be OK for Friday. I think the track will recover well, but we’ll more likely still be in the heavy range.”