WITH the current lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak, trainers in the Greater Sydney region are grateful that harness racing has been able to continue at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Bankstown and Penrith.
It has been a credit to HRNSW management that right from the beginning of the pandemic in March last year, with careful planning and well-delivered protocols, participants and in particular, those who rely on harness racing as their primary source of income, have been able to continue to earn a living.
Additionally, with the strictest protocols, participants from outside Greater Sydney have been able to enter the metropolitan area to compete.
A strong program at Penrith tonight has been bolstered by prominent Central Coast trainer Roy Roots Jnr heading down from his Central Mangrove base with six horses competing in some of the nine scheduled races.
Roots currently has a big team of horses in training and will back up at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, where he has two horses engaged, including Pitch Perfect, which takes on a handy field in the Group 3 Garrards Horse And Hound Free-For-All.
He will kick off at Penrith tonight with consistent gelding Beiderbecke, who is favoured to take out the opening event, ironically named the Stay Home Stay Safe Pace.
Roots has had the son of Bettors Delight in his care since he last raced in Western Australia in March and the five-year-old won for him first-up at Newcastle on June 25 when he led and cruised to a seven-metre victory.
Prominent Sydney reinsman Cameron Hart will partner Beiderbecke, who will need to be at his best to overcome a backline draw (barrier nine).
His main danger, Ballterra, has a similar adversity, and will come from the extreme outside in gate 10.
Overall, Roots did not fare very well with barrier draws and admitted that his runners would need plenty of luck if they were to figure in the prizemoney.
“You have to take the good with the bad and I am happy that I can come down and race at Penrith, given the restrictions that are in place because of Covid,” said Roots.
“One thing on my side is that I have four of the best drivers in the business on my horses tonight, namely Cam Hart, Robbie Morris, Glenn McElhinney and Chris Geary, which does help.”
– MICK DUMESNY