Super mare Winx will be facing an improving Randwick track when she chases her fourteenth consecutive win in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
Randwick was hit with a deluge earlier in the week with almost 100mm of rain falling on Tuesday and the track was posted as a Heavy 9 on Wednesday at acceptance time.
But with clear weather arriving on Thursday and Friday, the track has improved and on Friday morning was rated a Soft 7 and with heatwave conditions forecast for the weekend, the prospect of a further upgrade is on the cards.
Winx in the winner of her last thirteen starts with a total of seventeen wins from twenty-three starts and has handled rain affected tracks with one win on the heavy and two wins and a second on a Soft rated surface.
Trainer Chris Waller is confident that the track will keep improving in the lead up to the Apollo Stakes.
“They are saying that it will dry out nicely. We had a lot of rain in the early part of the week,” Waller told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“It was basically a downpour, not like days of rain in a row. A solid 100mm in about an hour or two and therefore it was saturated but we have had really good drying since then, today and tomorrow and it is going to be a very hot so I say we will be racing on a track on the better side of soft.”
The scorching heat could be more of a problem with the temperature on Saturday tipped to reach 39 degrees with Racing New South Wales already invoking level 2 of their Hot Weather Policy.
Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel said his team will keep a close eye on the heat situation and monitor the Hot Weather Policy as requited.
“As this stage the plan is to go ahead and race but we need to be cognisant of the forecast,’’ Van Gestel told The Daily Telegraph.
“We are aware of the weather predictions and at the very minimum our level two (heat) policy will be invoked at Randwick (Saturday).
“This means the pre-race parades will be shortened, we will ensure there is sufficient water sprays available and additional veterinarians will be on call.
“Unfortunately, the Theatre of the Horse can get very hot on occasions so we will monitor that.
“We will try to minimise the impact of the hot weather as much as possible.’’
“We are guided by the wet bulb reading which is a combination of the temperature and humidity levels.’’
“If we have high levels of temperature but low humidity the wet bulb reading would indicate it is not as oppressive as the temperature may suggest.
“But when we have a combination of hot weather and high humidity that is when we start to think about the conduct of the meeting.
“At this point in time the forecast says the humidity levels may not be as significant so we are hopeful that does not change in the next couple of days.’’
Waller has full confidence in the Racing New South Wales Hot Weather Policy and is looking forward to see Winx kick off her 2017 Autumn Carnival in the Apollo Stakes.
“They have good racing policies in the heat, so the horses aren’t exposed to the extreme of the sun for too long,” Waller said.
“They have a short parade – they’re basically only out on the track for about 10 minutes, and then back in the stalls.
“They can then have a shower and ice baths.
“There’s plenty of thought that goes into the day, it’s not perfect but very safe.”
Winx completely dominates the betting for the Apollo Stakes and is the $1.12 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au well ahead of her nearest rival Hartnell at $9.50.