By Gary Harley
Scone trainer Jeremy Gask was not surprised by Weather Channel’s breathtaking win at the last Newcastle meeting and he is confident that the six-year-old can go back-to-back on the same track on Easter Saturday.
On March 31 at this track, Weather Channel, with Samantha Clenton aboard, settled last in a field of 12 over the 1200m trip. He ran onto heels at the 700m point and the gelding was still last looking for a split between runners inside the 200m.
Clenton extracted Weather Channel to the outside of the field but was still last inside the 100m and he sprouted wings to claim the leaders and win by a head.
On Easter Saturday, the former South Australian galloper will contest the 1200m benchmark 70 Handicap with Clenton aboard and he has come up with the rails barrier.
Gask said on Thursday that Weather Channel has to be ridden for luck: “This horse is very talented, but he only has a short sharp sprint and he has to be smothered up in his races.
"The win at Newcastle was incredible but I wasn’t surprised because he is a horse that can produce a sprint like he did.
"Weather Channel has been placed in three Highways and he has been unlucky a number of times. I tried to stretch him out over longer trips last prep, but that didn’t work longer and I am convinced he is essentially a sprinter.
"He should race a bit closer this week from that barrier but he has to be held up and let loose late. There looks to be speed in the race and Weather Channel needs a good tempo,” Gask said.
The trainer originally from South Australia, trained in England for 10 years before relocating to Scone two years ago. He trains exclusively for Mike Abdullah who owns the property and Gask looks after the owner's weanlings and mares.
Mark Newnham’s Pierro filly Soul Purpose is ready to break through for a win in the 1850 metre Maiden Handicap. Having contested both of her two career starts at Newcastle, she was a close fourth over a similar trip in a stronger race here on March 31.
Newnham’s apprentice Tom Sherry will claim two kilograms and with 54 kilograms on her back she will be hard to hold out.
Paul Perry’s in-form stayer Into The Oblivion has bright prospects in the 1850 metre benchmark 64 Handicap. The four-year-old has won his past three starts at Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Taree.
He stormed home from way back to win running away on this track and Into The Oblivion is another good mount for Clenton.
Veteran Randwick trainer Les Bridge will send the promising I Am Invincible filly Madam Legend to Newcastle where she will contest a 1200 metre Fillies and Mares Maiden Plate. The filly has not raced since October when beaten four lengths by the talented Brandenburg on the Kensington track.
In her only other start at Hawkesbury in September she was placed.