Barrier trials busy as Cross-Harbour Tunnel
We waited all last season for the knock-on effect of the equine influenza in Australia but it never happened. Field sizes held up right to the final meeting and we were left to wonder what the fuss was about.
Well, reality has belatedly arrived, with the uncommonly small fields for many races at the first three meetings of the new term. On Sunday, six of the 10 races were under-subscribed - a total of 21 horses below capacity.
The good news is that the problem should be short term. Arrivals from Australia are streaming in now and a lot of the earlier arrivals (March-April) are starting to appear at barrier trials.
There may have been a shortfall at the three race meetings, so far, but the trials have been as busy as the Cross-Harbour Tunnel at rush hour.
As of last Friday, there had been 55 barrier trials since the starter let the first batch loose on the all-weather track on August 26. There were another six heats yesterday, featuring an incredible 32 newcomers in three turf trials.
There are any number of beautifully bred, well-conformed youngsters now coming to hand and they are spread across many stables. So beware in the coming weeks, because below-par Class Four races will be a soft kill for some of these untapped talents.