Punters have at least been given plenty of notice to start looking for wet trackers over the Easter weekend of racing at Doomben in Brisbane and Randwick in Sydney. As at this morning, according to RISA, Doomben was a heavy 10 following over four inches of rain (111mm) in the last seven days. Randwick wasn’t quite as wet as it was rated as a soft 6 this morning.

One of the interesting aspects of thoroughbred racing is to watch when one trainer takes over a horse from another trainer. It’s always interesting to see if the new trainer can improve the horse he or she has taken over, or if in fact the horse will lose a leg under its new trainer.

There were of course two high profile horses that figured in well-documented stable changes after last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival and they were Cox Plate winner Adelaide and Melbourne Cup victor Protectionist.

For his part, Adelaide went to Chris Waller in Sydney and Protectionist to Kris Lees in Newcastle. Adelaide is yet to appear for Waller, but I must admit if I was Chris Waller I’d have not taken up the offer to train Adelaide. After all, what could anyone do as a thoroughbred trainer to trump his former trainer’s effort, which was to have his horse right to take off at the 1000-metre mark in a Cox Plate and still win in very fast overall time. That win will remain in my mind forever as one of the most amazing wins that I’ve ever seen across all three codes. It’s my considered opinion that potentially that herculean effort to win the Cox Plate was a gutbuster of monumental proportions that Adelaide may never get over, given he was only having start number eight and was asked to carry much more weight than the Australian 3YOs because even though he was only just over six months older than Wandjina (Adelaide was born 19/2/11 to northern hemisphere time and Wandjina was born 2/9/11 to southern hemisphere time), Adelaide was asked to carry 6.5kgs more because according to the Australian Stud Book Adelaide “while in Australia is deemed to be born in the 2010 season” (the same as an Australian horse born 1/9/10 – which is ridiculous in my opinion. In any event the passage of time will tell if Chris Waller can get Adelaide to reproduce that extraordinary run.

For his part Kris Lees has had Protectionist for three runs and the horse has done nothing in my opinion in those three runs. The famous “they” say that Protectionist is a 3200-metre horse and all the rest of it and maybe he’s another enigma like that Bart Cummings trained galloper – Think Big – that was capable of winning two consecutive Melbourne Cups in 1974 and 1975, but nothing in between. When Protectionist gets out to 3200 metres of the Sydney Cup soon he’d need to lift on his latest three efforts if he’s deemed to be the same horse now under a different trainer.

Some horse transfers clearly amaze me. For instance Venture On was a reasonably consistent racehorse in Brisbane albeit he’d rarely win. He’s won just one race in the last 21 months and yet now he’s being asked to take on much tougher Melbourne company under Mitchell Freedman. Good luck Mitchell is all I’ll say.

But the most interesting horse transfer that I’ve noted in recent weeks is Academy Jack in Melbourne. He rarely wins – in fact he hasn’t won a race anywhere in the last 20 months – and he’s run just one placing in that same 20-month period. But sometimes in the past under former trainer D for Dale Short that horse Academy Jack would produce “a rabbit out of the hat” run that would alert one to the fact that the horse had really good natural ability. Now I see Darren Weir has taken Academy Jack over. Again like Mitchell Freedman and Venture On – I must say “I wonder what second prize was?” So far Academy Jack has had just one start for Darren Weir – for a big round duck egg. Academy Jack’s recent form as at today reads: 5-5-4-6-8-9-spell-0. As I stated earlier, the facts and realities are that he’s run just one placing in the last 20 months and yet I can tell you that when he produces his “rabbit out of the hat” run one day, if Darren Weir is as good a trainer as everyone says he is, then Academy Jack will go swisho from the tail of the field and win a race, running away from his opposition. Darren Weir could have said “No” – he’d need a challenge like Academy Jack like a hole in the head. Academy Jack is a good test for Darren Weir’s training prowess.

Chris Waller should be able to win a race with a smart lightly raced horse like Adelaide. It shouldn’t present a major problem. Kris Lees should be able to win a race with a horse he inherits following him decimating a Melbourne Cup field by panels of fencing. Mitchell Freedman will have to be a top young trainer on the way up to ever win a Saturday city race in Melbourne with Venture On. Darren Weir needs to win a Saturday city race with Academy Jack if he’s the best trainer in Victoria – as some declare.

So watch for new trainers to take over horses and mark the trainer according to their success with their new acquisition, as they’ve had the opportunity to have that horse’s soundness checked by the stable vet, via x-rays and so on before saying “yes”.

Racing Queensland Cadet Handicapper Sam Watson has advised the website that the scaled weights for Doomben on Saturday are: Race 3 + 4.5kgs, Race 6 – 0.50kg, Race 8 + 2kgs. So in my words, not Sam’s, Race 3 is the worst quality race at the meeting and Race 6 is the best class race as in layman’s terms it has a minus sign, meaning the weights have been scaled down.

The apprentice jockey weights for Doomben on Saturday should be:



Cassandra Schmidt

54 claims 2kgs

Matthew McGillivray

52 claims 3kgs

Rikki Jamieson

50 claims 2kgs

Beau Appo

49 claims 3kgs

Kasie Stanley

49 claims 3kgs

Travis Wolfgram

54 claims 2kgs

Geoffrey Goold

54 claims 2kgs

James Orman

53 claims 2kgs

Bridget Grylls

49 claims 2kgs

Sam Payne

53.5 claims 2kgs


Today on I look at Race 1 in Sydney to see what the best bred wet trackers are. On there are a couple of harness stories, whilst on Matt Nicholls looks at the T J Smith at Randwick.

The Postman has sent his thoughts through and they read:

The Championships kicks off @ Randwick on Saturday & I think we can have a good result with It’s Somewhat in the Doncaster. This 4YO gelding has impressed me with his two runs in this country so far and I think he’s in this race up to his neck. First up @ Warwick Farm over 1300m he settled midfield on the fence, got through on straightening, and was strong to the line to record a comfortable victory. Last start @ Rosehill on a firm track, he got a sore back from William Buick, who elected to sit 3 wide on the speed for the trip. It was no surprise he didn’t go on in the straight, as his petrol tank read empty @ the 300m. I’d also suggest he didn’t like the firm track & he did have to lug 58.5kg.

Saturday It’s Somewhat gets a chance to produce a rating figure closer to his UK form with a big run in the Doncaster. Firstly, it looks as though he’ll get the soft track he needs, secondly he also plummets in weight down to 51.5kg and thirdly has the services of Craig Williams. I’m expecting It’s Somehwhat to take advantage of the good barrier & settle just off the speed set by the likes of Real Impact, Cosmic Endeavour and Ninth Legion. I’m expecting the tempo to be quite solid, which will suit It’s Somewhat based on his UK grounding over longer distances. If Craig can keep him out of strife rounding the home turn and can secure a run in the straight, I think he can well & truly be fighting out the finish. Many of his main rivals have drawn poorly and will require luck to fall their way, whilst others don’t look quite up to the class. I think it’s more likely than not that It’s Somewhat will get the perfect run in transit & be produced with plenty in hand down the running. I think he’ll run you a great race at each way odds.

It’s Somewhat opened around $20 with some agencies & is even better on the exchanges. I have him marked closer to 11/1 or $12 chance.

Randwick 9-12 It’s Somewhat (each way).

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