A standout piece of form for a midweek meeting will be a saving grace for trainer Steve Hodge in the unlikely event of a rain-affected track at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Hodge has three Warwick Farm runners and unless there is an overnight downpour, the Newcastle stable’s fortunes rest mostly with the consistent sprinter Grand Condor.
Grand Condor will run as one of the favourites in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap after resuming in a harder race to fill the minor placing behind Fell Swoop and Music Magnate at Randwick last month.
It was a return to racing which pleased Hodge and the run has been made to look even better since Fell Swoop was switched to Melbourne to win a Moonee Valley sprint race at Listed level on Saturday.
“He had a real good preparation last time and his first-up run was solid behind two pretty good horses and the form has held up,” Hodge said.
Hodge will also have last-start Warwick Farm winner Lucky Ima Cugat and French Gift going around at Warwick Farm.
“They both need the track to be wet for them to run well in the city and unless there’s a thunderstorm it’s going to be hard for them,” Hodge said.
A Tuesday morning track inspection rated the Warwick Farm track in the soft range and there’s a chance it could be upgraded with fine weather forecast for Sydney.
There will be a precedent for at least one of trainer Chris Waller’s four runners in the McGrath Estate Agents Handicap to run well.
Waller has Montauk, Lushan, Aldesaar and Astro Sun as acceptors in the 1400m maiden race for three-year-old colts and geldings in which the trainer last year started the spring campaign of subsequent Victoria Derby winner Preferment.
Preferment finished second at Warwick Farm and was beaten in two more Sydney maiden races before emerging as a Derby prospect with his narrow defeat in the Geelong Classic.
Of Waller’s quartet on Wednesday, Montauk is clearly the most fancied after winning a barrier trial last week following a midfield placing when caught on a limb.