John Thompson is the latest trainer to express his frustration over a compressed weight scale for the Epsom Handicap that has left stable runner Hooked as an unlikely topweight in the $1 million race.
Since the final Epsom field was declared on Tuesday, there have been calls for a review of how Sydney’s feature races are weighted after a bare 2kg separated the runners.
Weights had to be raised 4kg at acceptance time ensuring Hooked, competitive at Group One level without winning a major, was given 58kg to comply with minimum topweight requirements under an Australian rule of racing.
Thompson said there should be a declaration stage to help give racing officials a clearer guide to a possible final field.
“Nominations can be taken for all-in betting but they should not put out the weights until closer to the race,” he said.
“You could have a first acceptance a week out from the race to give an indication of who is coming and then do the weights.”
Hooked ran the bravest of minor placings in last year’s Epsom when he had the limit 52kg but he has fallen from favour since he languished at the back of the field in the George Main Stakes.
The entire might be an overlooked runner, according to Thompson.
“It was a disappointing run, no matter what way you looked at it,” he said.
“He’s run out of his skin first-up when he was probably a run short and it has taken a bit more out of him than what he was letting on and he has raced a bit flat.”
Thompson said the Tramway Stakes winner didn’t have the right footing in the George Main.
“When he is on a wet track he really needs to be held together to get through because he doesn’t handle it real well,” Thompson said.
Thompson will be pleased to hear Australian Turf Club trackman Lindsay Murphy’s report indicating a firmer surface on Saturday.
“The forecast is terrific and we should kick off the meeting with the track a good four with the chance of an upgrade from there,” Murphy said.
Winx remains a warm favourite to continue Chris Waller’s recent domination of Randwick’s premier mile races.
Waller has won the past three Doncaster Miles and with three runners on Saturday he is chasing a hat-trick of Epsom wins.
His Epsom squad has been bolstered by a switch in plans for Silverball and the Hong Kong import will follow He’s Your Man’s successful path to winning in 2014 after taking out the Kingston Town Stakes.
“I’m struggling to get him fully wound up for a 2400-metre race and I didn’t think it would be right for him to be stepping up this early,” Waller said.