Published by Staff Writers, 5th November 2018 on foxsports.com.au
A FIRM track on Derby Day has a representative of Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan pleading for Flemington officials to “turn the taps on”.
But with wet weather forecast for the $7.05 million race, they may not need to.
On Saturday the track was rated at the third-hardest level – a good three – with Yucatan representative Nick Williams saying there were “a lot of sore horses” because of the “ridiculously firm” track.
“I was fortunate I was a spectator there yesterday [on Derby Day] and I’m pleased we didn’t have any of our horses there … I guarantee there’s a lot of sore horses out of that race day,” Williams said on Sunday.
“I spent a bit of time in the mounting yard, and I probably had 10-15 jockeys come up to me and tell me it was “ridiculously firm”.
“I think it’s something the authorities need to look at down here. Let’s not worry about that because I’m sure they’ll get it right on Tuesday. Turn the taps on!”
However there was a different view from Yucatan’s trainer Aidan O’Brien, who suggested to RSN the firmer ground may in fact help the five-year-old.
“He loves fast ground and [that’s] another reason he might not have got that ever there [Europe]. The better the ground, the better his chance,” O’Brien said.
“Everything seems to be going well so it will be very interesting to see, with him.”
The Bureau of Metereology is predicting a 90 per cent chance of rain on Tuesday in Melbourne, with a top of 20 and a possible storm.
Rain is most likely in the morning and early afternoon, with between 10 and 30 millimetres forecast to fall on Monday and Tuesday combined.
At the top end, that could see the track move to a soft rating.
It will all make for a difficult period for Flemington track manager Liam O’Keefe.
“He’s moving the [running] rail out two metres [after Derby Day],’ Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said on ABC’s Offsiders.
“His decision is whether [or not] and when to water, and how much to water.”
TRACK RATING SYSTEM
Firm 1 — Dry hard track
Firm 2 — Firm track
Good 3 — Track with good grass coverage (Derby Day rating)
Good 4 — Track with some give in it
Soft 5 — Track with reasonable give in it
Soft 6 — Moist but not badly affected track
Soft 7 — More rain-affected track
Heavy 8 —Rain affected track
Heavy 9 — Wet track
Heavy 10 — Heaviest track, very wet