As Melbourne enjoys a late burst of autumn warmth, Lindsay Park co-trainer Tom Dabernig is ruing the lack of rain.
Imported gelding Cloudscape makes his Australian debut in the Chairman’s Club Handicap at Flemington on Saturday with Dabernig concerned the track may be too firm.
Rain earlier in the week boosted Dabernig’s hopes of a soft surface but drying conditions on Thursday and Friday has the track in the good range.
Cloudscape won his first two starts in England and came to Australia following a wind operation and as a gelding after twisting a testicle as a younger horse.
He finished fourth in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in July 2014, beaten 1-1/4 lengths by Snow Sky who came to Australia last year for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Last year’s Australian Cup winner Spillway finished third in the 2013 Gordon Stakes before joining Lindsay Park.
Dabernig said the Australian summer and hard tracks had come too quickly for Cloudscape last year.
“We brought him out when he was out of work and by the time he went through quarantine we didn’t have much time to do anything with him during the spring,” Dabernig said.
“We got him up to trialling but it was coming into summer and the tracks were hard so we thought we’d tip him out and go again.
“He’s got a bit of class but I don’t know if we’ll see the best of him until he gets out in distance to a mile and beyond and on softish ground.”
Dabernig hopes to get a couple of runs into Cloudscape with a view to contesting the early spring races.
Cloudscape is a $13 chance with the Ciaron Maher-trained Duibio the $4.40 favourite.