There is something about the first meeting of the season that has a strange sequence to it and all of it involves trainer Kerry Weir.
The Tumut mentor has dominated the opening meeting of the season in the Southern Districts at Gundagai for the past decade – the only problem is he wishes it had also been held for the past three years. In those years, the meeting has been washed out, but prior to that Weir was so dominant he could be about to return fire.
Wet weather and track repairs have cancelled the meeting in 2015, 16 and 17, but there is no chance of that on Sunday. Weir is glad the races are on and he has six horses entered although he could scratch Sintara and reserve him for Randwick on Saturday.
That will leave him with five strong chances and there is every possibility he will return home a winner just prior to leaving for his annual holiday.
“This meeting at Gundagai, and most meetings there, are good to me and I don’t know why,” he said. “If I can get one winner I will be more than happy.”
In 2011, Weir had three consecutive winners at this meeting which he repeated two years later and splitting those years he had a double on the corresponding day. Eight winners at the same meeting three years running is some feat and this was followed by three seconds in 2014 before the run of three washed out meetings.
Weir will start Bondo in the Benchmark 60 (1400m) and hopes stable mate Foxlike can gain a start after being declared the third emergency: “Bondo has missed a few runs, but the 1400 metres at Gundagai will suit. Foxlike has been racing well and should be competitive if he gains a start,” he said.
The trainer is keen to see how South Africa, Cod Rock and Emerald Ice perform first-up.
“Cod Rock won the Carrathool Cup and pulled up sore afterwards and will probably need the run,” he said. “Emerald Ice normally races well fresh and I’m expecting a big run from him, while South Africa is also first-up after being out with back issues.”
The track is rated as a soft five for the seven-race program.