THE brave new world hits Echuca Racing Club on Sunday, with the club’s first meeting since the outbreak of COVID-19.
But there will still be a strong local contingent flying the Echuca-Moama flag.
With runners from Gwenda Johnstone, the Cornish and Gaskin stable, Michael Newton and both Rhys and Daryl Archard, plus a healthy contingent from down south trained by the likes of Mick Price, James Cummings and Michelle Payne, the nine-race card will feature large fields.
The Cornish/Gaskin trained Georgia’s Host will be one to watch in the eighth, the 1400m Think Water Power Echuca BM70 Handicap, coming in with a hot run of form since late November.
In her past five runs, the five-year-old mare has been in the thick of it on every occasion, claiming three seconds and a third, capped off with a 1.5-length win at Werribee on January 11.
Her most recent run, on March 30 at Swan Hill, saw her pipped by just 0.8 of a length.
Trainer Mick Cornish said the recent rain would give the noted mudlark an extra advantage on her home track.
“She’s a nice little mare,” he said.
“She loves a wet track; last time she ran on heavy ground was a really strong performance, so hopefully we will see it again.
“She’s tough, she’s honest, and best of all she will be down 4.5kg on her previous start and we expect her to really hit the line hard.”
Cornish said the uncertain fate of racing had made the decision to run the Georgia's Host just a week after her previous outing an easy one, “given the current dynamics of the sport”.
“We weren’t worried about backing her up,” he said.
“She’s in really good form and everything will suit her. The reality is we typically would have given her more time between runs, but we’re uncertain about when we will be back out there.
“This could all be over tomorrow, we’re all working on borrowed time as an industry now, so we have to get the job done.
“We have full faith in what she brings to the table and her ability to back up like this, so I think where trainers have that confidence, you are going to see a lot more of this for a while.”
Sunday’s event will be closed to the public but will be televised on racing.com