Racing: Big challenge for topweight

By Mike Dillon

Storming The Tower (outer) faces a heavy track tomorrow. Photo / Trish Dunell
Storming The Tower (outer) faces a heavy track tomorrow. Photo / Trish Dunell

Weight won't stop a train despite the popular line, but it can stop racehorses wallowing through very heavy winter tracks.

Current winter handicap star Storming The Tower faces a huge task with 60kg topweight in tomorrow's $40,000 Orora Packaging Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga.

Yes, that's the same weight he won Ellerslie's time-honoured Cornwall Handicap last start, but the others are down in weight. Celebrity Miss, for example, chased Storming The Tower home at Ellerslie. She carried 57kg that day and has 56.5kg tomorrow.

What will make Storming The Tower's job that much more difficult is the extremely heavy nature of Tauranga tomorrow. The course manager and members of the Racing Integrity Unit will inspect the track today.

The track copped 96mm of rain on Wednesday night and showers yesterday.

The posting on Thoroughbred Racing's website yesterday declared today's inspection did not suggest there was a possibility of an abandonment, but clearly that is the motivation for the inspection.

That surprises local trainer Jim Pender, a member of the club's executive. "After the very heavy rain on Wednesday night there was surface water on the No1 grass this morning, but nothing on the course proper.

"We are meant to have only a few showers tomorrow [Friday] with the possibility of rain later on Saturday. This track at Tauranga drains very well after heavy rain. We've had something like 150mm of rain in 10 days and still raced."

The Tauranga course proper is relatively new and gets deep and loose with rain and that alone could bring Storming The Tower undone. On the plus side he is very strong and the weight may not be as difficult as the track condition.

Celebrity Miss has to be the danger. She is tough and gets through bad tracks well. Fitness will count late in this race and few will be as fit as her.

Our King Sway has 53kg, a weight which will provide him with a great chance. He won on this track in wet ground in April and got home nicely for a close second at Te Rapa last start, suggesting he was very close to another win. Pump Up The Volume was solid getting home to win at Manawatu last week and will be right in the fight late in a dogged finish here.

Visitor Platinum Command needs a scratching to get back in the field in the $50,000 Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic and might be very difficult to hold out if she makes it back.

As a Rating 75 horse she is badly off on level weights in this field, but she is a mare on the way through and is very fit. She was beaten in her own grade at Trentham last start, but she carried 60kg, a very tough job for a mare, and the winner Veracious had 52kg.

Lisa Latta does not travel her horses unless they are chances and Platinum Command rates right up with the favourites.

Summer's Day has been in great form. She is extremely versatile in terms of track conditions, but probably this will be the heaviest she has encountered if the forecast rain comes in late tomorrow.

Fascination Street and Illuminati are dangers.

Five winners at Oamaru yesterday gave Lisa Allpress a 12 win lead in the national jockeys' premiership and took her within four wins of her career best season tally.

Allpress went into the meeting seven wins clear of nearest rival Matthew Cameron, but wins aboard Come Fly With Me, Black Estate, Margarita Mover, Mystic Power and Joe Bonanno extended her lead.

She has now ridden 155 winners for the season, just shy of her previous best of 159 set in the 2011-12 season. Yesterday's bag of five was the second time in her career she had won that many races in a day, the previous coming at Hawera in August, 2010.

Allpress continues her premiership quest with rides at Otaki today and Riccarton tomorrow.

- Additional reporting NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

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