Rain may aid Tommy’s cause

A  rain-affected track might be just the thing for local star Tommy Tucker in the feature  weight...
A rain-affected track might be just the thing for local star Tommy Tucker in the feature weight-for-age race at Wingatui tomorrow. Photo: Race Images
Heavy rain that drenched Wingatui racecourse yesterday could have just saved star local galloper Tommy Tucker.

The 9yr-old will line up in tomorrow’s newly remodelled group 3 White Robe Lodge Weight-For-Age (1600m) from barrier 14.

Before the rain hit it was a case of the perfect race coming along for reigning Otago horse of the year Tommy Tucker, but he was was hit with a horror draw.

But the weather gods may have just saved the Otago favourite’s chances.

The possibility of a soft-rated track — a surface the horse has excelled on in the past — could go some way to negating the tricky barrier.

Exactly where the Wingatui track would rate  tomorrow was tricky to predict, track manager Wayne Stevens said.

He had managed the track with the knowledge that heavy rain was forecast  to follow the searing heat that hit the Dunedin region  this week.

Further rain was not expected once the deluge was over, according to MetService forecasts.

Stevens said a there was a good chance the track would rate as slow but there was hope it could improve to a dead rating.

Tactics on how to tackle Tommy Tucker’s draw will largely be left to his new rider, Shankar Muniandy, who fills in for the suspended Jacob Lowry, co-trainer Shane Anderton said.

"We’ll just leave it up to the jockey to work it out.

"We’ll see what the pace of the race is and go from there but we don’t want to be trapped four deep."

Though his draw may prove tricky, what does bode well for Tommy Tucker is the change in the race conditions  from handicap to weight-for-age. Meeting his male counterparts on level terms and mares just 2kg  worse off is a stark difference from the big weight advantage the horse often gives away to his rivals.

The last time Tommy Tucker raced in weight-for-age conditions last April  he brilliantly won the group 3 Canterbury Gold Cup at Riccarton on a slow track.

Tomorrow, Tommy Tucker will meet his main rival, Kolonel Kev, 7kg better off than when they clashed in the listed Timaru Cup, also over 1600m, on December 28.

Kolonel Kev has been in inspired form since joining Terri Rae’s Riccarton stable three starts ago.

Since winning the Timaru Cup he ran a creditable fifth behind group 1 winner Wait A Sec in the Anniversary Handicap at Trentham last month.

Tommy Tucker is one of four horses Brian and Shane Anderton will present in the race their White Robe Lodge operation sponsors.

Last year’s winner, Coulee, and rider Courtney Barnes are back to defend their crown.

"Coulee is just coming back into form at the right time. Being a mare, she’s better after Christmas and from barrier 6, she’ll be right in the pace as she was last year," Shane Anderton said.

"She should go a nice race from there."

Gallant Boy will be ridden by Daniel Bothamley, and Corey Campbell gets a big chance for a young rider when he rides Fascinate in the group 3 feature.

"Gallant Boy ran a good third at Riccarton the other day but it won’t be easy for him at the weights.

"Fascinate wasn’t far away from Coulee in a couple of races last year and I’d be rapt if she could run third and get some black type [pedigree credentials]  for her breeding career," Anderton said.

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