Wet weather has forced quality mare Wilchino out of Saturday’s Bolton Sprint at Belmont Park, but mudlark Nerodio is back in contention for the Listed race after a change of plans.
Heavy rain forecast on Thursday and Saturday prompted trainer Dan Morton to scratch Wilchino, who was a beaten favourite on a soft 6 in the Beaufine Stakes (1000m) first-up.
The Maschino mare, who ran fifth behind Nerodio, was withdrawn from the Bolton Sprint (1200m)and will tackle the $100,000 Jockey Celebration Day Sprint (1000m) a week later.
Conditions deteriorated during the running of the Beaufine, which was run 11 lengths slower than average according to sectional times guru Vince Accardi’s data.
“She’ll be competitive but she’s just not as effective on that ground,” Morton said.
“It’s the middle of winter, so it is what it is.
“This prep for he is more just getting that block of a prep into her, then she’ll have a let-up and come back for later in the year.”
Trainer Stephanie Bakranich had committed to bypassing the Bolton with Nerodio before changing her mind last weekend.
However, the bleak forecast this week was more of a bonus rather than a driving force behind her new plan.
“In the past he’s needed time to recover from his races, so that’s why I put him straight out after the Beaufine,” Bakranich said.
“But he pulled up so well, I grabbed him back out of the paddock on the weekend and he towed me around.
“I rang Lucky (jockey Laqdar Ramoly) and said ‘this horse has to race again’.
“He worked great at home on Monday and again at the track this morning.
“The rain is just an added bonus.”
Nerodio won back-to-back Beaufines when he ploughed through the wet conditions to run down Mervyn late.
It was the Playing God gelding’s third victory on a soft track and he won the same race last year on a heavy surface.
Meanwhile, a programming change has prompted co-trainers Dan and Ben Pearce to extend in-form three-year-old Black Fantasy’s winter campaign.
Racing and Wagering WA has added a 78-plus 2100m handicap to the Belmont meeting on Saturday week, provided it attracts a sufficient number of acceptances.
Black Fantasy was to be spelled after completing the Aquanita Stakes-Belmont Classic double last Saturday but will now target that race.