Nervous wait as rain threatens Slipper wash-out

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The Golden Slipper is likely to be run seven days later and some other races on the program merged if Sydney’s predicted downpour forces the postponement of Saturday’s showcase Rosehill meeting.

The track was downgraded to a heavy nine on Friday with Racing NSW stewards, led by Marc Van Gestel, set to reinspect the surface at 3pm (AEST) on Friday and again at around 6am on race day to determine if the program is safe to proceed.

If it is called off, the most likely scenario is the addition of several races, including the $3.5 million Golden Slipper, to the Tancred Stakes meeting the following Saturday.

“There is nothing that has been set in concrete yet but there have been a few discussions around contingencies,” Van Gestel said.

“I think what will happen is there will be a transfer to next Saturday for some of those races, and that will include maybe the merging of some other races that were due to be run on the card, and more than likely running the Slipper next Saturday.

“That will mean a week’s back-up into the Sires’ (Produce Stakes), which was the traditional path a few years ago anyway.”

Five Group One races are scheduled for the Slipper day meeting, which is Rosehill’s autumn carnival centrepiece.

The track received 44 mils of rain on Thursday and heavy downpours are anticipated on race day.

Van Gestel says the biggest issue is not the amount of rain but visibility.

“The worst of it is rain whilst you’re racing. It doesn’t really come down to a surface issue but a visibility issue for the jockeys,” he said.

“I think Rosehill could probably take another 30 mils because it drains so well.

“Last week we were forecast about 40 mils and got nothing but it’s clear the weather has arrived this time. There’s no doubt we’re going to get something, it’s just how much.”

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