Firm track will suit Bloodwood
By GREG WHITE
THE wet tracks that plagued winter racing on the North Coast are gradually drying out but will a firmer surface help Bloodwood regain winning form?
Trainer Ted Lancaster aims to answer that question when he sends the six-year-old gelding around in the Wypall Open Handicap (1606m) at today's Coffs Harbour TAB meeting.
"He doesn't like rain-affected tracks at all," Lancaster said.
"During the carnivals he finished well back in the Coffs and Lismore Cups on ground that didn't suit him."
After trailing the field home in the Lismore Cup, the trainer gave Bloodwood one start in a mile race at Taree on October 13 before sending him out for a short let-up.
"He found a good track last start but the distance wasn't suitable," he said.
"Today is the same but from now we'll start stepping him up in distance.
"There aren't many staying races in the association so he'll start earning frequent flyer points over summer."
Lancaster points to the dilemma facing trainers who handle gallopers needing 'more ground.'
"Look at Phil Minter with Famous Dane," he said.
"In the last three weeks he's been to the Sunshine Coast, down to Sydney then back to Brisbane, chasing a race where he's competitive.
"To give Bloodwood a chance to find some winning form there's no alternative to doing the same."
With ratings-based handicapping introduced from the beginning of December, the trainer hopes it will assist the horse.
"It's still to be sorted out but I'm willing to give the new rules a try if it helps," he said.
"There are lots of horses who were weighted out of being competitive under the old system and it could give them a new lease of life.
"We'll start to see if there's a difference from how well he goes today."