Trainer Paul Nolan is hoping his prayers will be answered to ensure Newcastle Cup plans for Fantastic Blue remain on track at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Fantastic Blue is chasing a hat-trick of wins in the Brisbanetimes.com.au Handicap (2125m) but the weather holds the key to the five-year-old lining up.
Eagle Farm is currently rated a slow (6) and Nolan is confident the weather won’t sour current plans to send him south for the Group Three Newcastle Cup (2300m) on September 15.
“He’s got to have this run if he’s to go down for the Newcastle Cup,” Nolan said.
“I’ve had my hands joined and have been on my knees for two days praying there won’t be any more rain.”
The veteran Toowoomba trainer can’t fault Fantastic Blue since the gelding’s last-start win over 2200 metres at Doomben on August 20 and has warned punters to ignore his wet track record.
Fantastic Blue is yet to be placed in two starts on slow tracks and has one placing from three attempts in heavy going.
“You wouldn’t know he went around last start and he hasn’t gone backwards,” Nolan said.
“I think his wet form is a bit deceptive.
“He’s definitely better on top of the ground but I wouldn’t say he’s a duffer in the wet.
“There’s heavy tracks and heavy tracks. A heavy track at Doomben is different to a heavy track at Eagle Farm.”
Nolan believes Fantastic Blue will appreciate his drop in weight to 54.5 kilograms, 3.5kg less than he carried to victory last start.
“Having only 54.5 kilos on his back is a big difference to 58 kilos but he’s got a bastard of a barrier (10),” he said.
“Hopefully his barrier won’t be a problem for a jockey like Chris Munce and he’ll know what’s best to do on him.
“Chris said after his last run he was a lot fitter than when he won at Doomben two weeks earlier and he’s improved further.
“The worst situation for him will be a bog track and he won’t run if it is.”
Nolan showed during the week that he had an uncanny skill predicting weather forecasts.
“I told the other trainers up here we’d get two inches (50mm) of rain this week before it bucketed down on Tuesday,” he said.
“I’m predicting there won’t be much rain, possibly only a shower, and it will be fine until Tuesday.”
Munce, who claimed Brisbane’s riding honours for a fourth time last season, blotted his season’s copybook when he failed to ride a winner from his three mounts at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.
The grand slam-winning jockey had previously ridden a winner at every meeting he’d ridden at since returning from a short overseas holiday last month.
Munce’s winning streak over 12 meetings had been on both metropolitan and provincials tracks and included his interstate success aboard Just The Tonic at Rosehill last Saturday.