The rain has arrived on que in Melbourne for noted wet tracker Jungle Edge who is the searching for back to back wins when he lines up in the $100,000 Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1000m) on the Ladbrokes Park Hillside track at Sandown on Saturday.
Jungle Edge is the winner of twelve of his forty-five starts, all on rain affected tracks, and Melbourne is forecast to receive a month’s worth of rain in the next couple of days.
“The Melbourne area later in the day, during the afternoon, is going to (be at) the heaviest. We’ll probably see rainfall pick-up steadily from now on into the afternoon. There is a bit of an easing trend later in the day,” the spokesman for the Bureau of Meteorology said.
The Sandown track has been rated a Good 3 on Friday morning but Ladbrokes Park have tweeted that the rain is due to arrive during Friday and Saturday.
“The track is currently a Good 3 and Going Stick 10.7 The track has received 11.8mm of rain for the week. 50mm of rain is forecast for Today & 30-80mm forecast for tomorrow. Further updates at 3pm & 7pm today,” Ladbrokes Park tweeted.
Trainer Mick Bell is glad that the rain has arrived but if Melbourne’s gets more than forecast the problem could be that the Sandown races could be called off.
“I’ve got the wet track I wanted but my biggest worry now is whether the meeting will go ahead,” Bell told the Herald Sun.
Jungle Edge was back in the winner’s stall last start with an all the way win on a Soft 5 rated track in the Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown November 18 and Bell has the seven year old going as well as ever but said he is not over the line yet even though Ladbrokes.com.au have him as the $2.80 hot pot for the Le Pine Funerals Handicap.
“It’s scary, but he’s going better than ever. I don’t think he’s looked better,” Bell said.
“The race isn’t a gimme by any means. We’re against our old sparring partner Gun Case but if it’s a Heavy 8, 9 or 10 there aren’t too many who can beat him in those conditions.
“It’s still a horse race, though, but he’s going to be hard to beat.”
Bell admits that he keeps a constant watch on the weather and that has paid some handsome dividends with Jungle Edge winning the Group 3 $150,000 E-Group Security Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on a heavy 9 during the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival and the Group 3 $125,000 Taxibox BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben during the Brisbane Winter Carnival on a heavy 8.
Jungle Edge was also runner up at his next start to Clearly Innocent on a heavy 8 Eagle Farm track in the Group 1 $700,000 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).
Jungle Edge has drawn the rails but has been lumped with 62kg in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap and Bell has elected to go with 3kg claiming apprentice Georgina Cartwright who replaces the gelding’s regular rider Kevin Forrester.
On the second line of betting at $4.40 is the Darren Weir trained Gun Case who will jump from the outside gate in the eight horse field with apprentice Ethan Brown in the saddle.