By Ray Hickson
From the moment Bombasay won the final race on TAB Everest day trainer Damien Lane has had the goal of returning to Randwick in April to be a part of The Star Championships on his mind.
Specifically, to tackle the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championships Final (1400m) and Saturday’s first qualifier at Newcastle shapes as an important day in his plan.
“Pretty much after his last win we knew he couldn’t win again (or he'd be ineligible) so he went straight to the paddock and everything’s been in preparation for this,’’ Lane said.
“He didn’t need to go to the paddock but when you have a race of this stature it’s worth planning for and, touch wood, it’s all gone to plan.”
Bombasay has won two of his three starts for Lane, he was formerly trained by Kris Lees and contested two heats of the 2020 Polytrack Provincial Championships series without success, and five of his 14 starts overall.
He’s on the second line of all-in betting with TAB for the April 10 final at $17 and Lane said his trial win at Wyong, where he defeated Sydney Stakes winner Trumbull, and a subsequent grass track jump out have been pleasing.
“I’ve brought him up nice and slowly. Saturday is D-Day but I’m happy with where I’m at with him,’’ Lane said.
“The 1400m is as far as he wants to go first-up but I didn’t want to run him anywhere before on the off chance that he won.
“And I didn’t want to wait for the Gosford heat over 1200m (on March 13) because if something went wrong there I was out of options.
“He’s a horse you wouldn’t want to back up too much and this way if something goes wrong on Saturday we can get another run in another qualifier.”
The three placegetters earn a spot in the Final and Lane said that would be a pass mark for Bombasay’s first-up run.
Darryl McLellan takes the ride on Saturday and Lane is hoping for a favourable barrier given that he may be slightly vulnerable at 1400m fresh.
“These races are generally high pressure and I think there will be enough speed on to get a bit of cover, especially being first-up I’d rather see him off the speed,’’ he said.
“If we can get him in he’s a better fresh horse and we’d look to a trial or something before the final.”
Lane qualified two horses for the past two Polytrack Provincial Championships Finals with Oakfield Missile faring best finishing fourth in both 2019 and 2020.
Bombasay wins a trial at Wyong on February 4
Meanwhile, Lane will weigh up his options with unraced Shalaa filly Tidal Impact who is nominated for a 900m two-year-old race at Newcastle on the back of two barrier trial wins.
He said he’d probably prefer a 1000m kick off, and she’ll be nominated for a race over that distance in Sydney next week, but is keeping an open mind until the fields come out.
“She’s a nice filly, her two trials have been really good. My concern is 900m being a bit sharp for her,’’ he said.
“It’s amazing the difference between a 900m race and a 1000m race.
“She didn’t run a brilliant time the other day compared to the other two-year-olds but I just like the way she put them away and did it comfortably. She’s definitely a filly with a bit of ability.”