The esteemed New Zealand racehorse, Skew Wiff, is headed back to the training paddock in an effort to rescue her ten-million-dollar Australian campaign. The prestigious Tarzino Trophy holder left her team disheartened and irked upon misbehaving at the barriers in the Rose Of Kingston Stakes at Flemington, resulting in her withdrawal from the race last Saturday.
This setback has thrown her challenging Australian campaign into chaos, leading trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson to seek guidance from veteran Australian trainer, Peter Moody. His advice? Address her barrier unease head-on.
Walker notes, “She didn’t hurt herself at all, which is one blessing. Moods advised we consult Julien Welsh, a reputed Victorian horseman skilled at calming horses at the barrier.” Walker reports Skew Wiff’s team has engaged Welsh, widely respected in Victoria’s horse racing world, to work with her over several days to acclimatise her to the local starting procedures.
Welsh is no ordinary horse handler, most recently taking an 1800km horse and cart journey with his loyal dog from Packenham, Victoria to Rockhampton, Queensland. A quintessential old-school horseman, Welsh’s skills were recognized even in Hollywood, leading to his participation in the movie Man From Snowy River II.
Walker’s aspiration is that Welsh’s influence will soothe Skew Wiff into behaving appropriately during a trial at Cranbourne in the coming week, and subsequently return to racing at the Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield on October 21st.
“If she can accomplish that, we will have a clear indication of whether she can proceed to Sydney for the Golden Eagle,” says Walker. However, if complications arise and her racing schedule is impeded, Mark Chittick, the horse’s owner, is prepared to bring her home.
Meanwhile, Imperatriz, Skew Wiff’s stablemate, is faring excellently, training for the $2m Manikato at The Valley on October 28th. Walker commented, “She was slightly stiff after her win in the Moir but bounced back the next day, and she has been in excellent shape since then.”
The Walker/Bergerson stable, currently holding a 25-win lead in the national trainer’s Premiership, will only be represented by Aromatic in the upcoming $450,000 Livamol Classic at Hastings. “Warren Kennedy will ride her as he has already committed to her,” Walker informs.
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