Todd Howlett has already received some good news this week and he’s hoping there’s more to come when he takes Siege Warfare to Randwick for the Tab Highway Handicap.
The Hunter-based trainer welcomed the announcement earlier this week that Racing NSW would be boosting prize money for a number of country Cups, including his local Muswellbrook Cup which will carry a $150,000 purse from next season.
Given the drought conditions many country trainers are currently enduring, Howlett says the news has come at the right time.
“Country racing is probably in the best place it’s ever been,” Howlett said.
“Racing NSW is really looking after country people and it’s pretty tough for people in the country at the moment, so it’s great.”
Howlett will chase a more immediate payday at Randwick on Saturday when he runs former Victorian Siege Warfare in the Highway Handicap while stablemate Dalmatia Prince is first emergency for the JHB Syndications Handicap (1800m).
Siege Warfare was bought by his current owners to specifically target races for NSW country-trained horses.
He hasn’t been far away in all three runs for Howlett and his last-start third to the promising Sir Elton reads well for Saturday’s race.
“He’s a really nice horse. That was a hard race last start and he ran well there,” Howlett said.
“I’m sure he’ll be competitive.”
Dalmatia Prince will start at long odds if he gains a start but Howlett has him ready to peak after three solid runs back from a spell.
The five-year-old enjoys rain-affected ground and will appreciate a rise in trip following his third on the Kensington circuit last start.
“He’s up in grade a fair way but it’s hard to find the right race for him and he is down in weight, he’s got a nice barrier and he likes the soft,” Howlett said.
Siege Warfare was a $13 chance for the Highway Handicap on Thursday with Dalmatia Prince at the each-way odds of $41.