Co-trainer Andrew Forsman's only concern with talented mare Tomelilla ahead of tomorrow's Listed Challenge Stakes (1590m) at Wanganui is the state of the track, reports reports NZ Racing Desk. Fine weather has seen the Wanganui track improve to a heavy 10 rating and further improvement seems likely with no rain forecast before Saturday's feature. Tomelilla (Tavistock-Purnima, by Dubai Destination) claimed her first black-type win in the Gr3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) three weeks ago on a testing heavy 11 track, and Forsman reported she had trained on well since. "She's going great and she's really good in herself," said Forsman, who trains in partnership with Hall of Famer Murray Baker. "The only worry is the different track conditions and how she copes with that. We've taken horses to Wanganui before thinking they would handle it and came away disappointed." Forsman added: "At Rotorua, there was rain on the day and it was a loose, heavy track but it's not going to be like that at Wanganui. She's very well, but that's the unknown factor."
Newgate Farms dual Gr1-winning shuttler The Factor (War Front-Greyciousness, by Miswaki) sired his first Australian winner in Canberra on Friday. Prepared by local trainer Gratz Vella, The Unknown Factor looked a colt of some potential when overcoming a slow start to score stylish debut win in a 2YO maiden plate over 1000 metres. Last out of the gates and trailing the field turning for home, The Unknown Factor was able to secure an inside run and dashed clear over the final stages to win comfortably by more than a length over Lu's In Charge (Charge Forward) and Delchuzy (Delago Deluxe). "He's always shaped up as though he could do it," said Vella, who won the Listed Canberra Black Opal in 2011 with You're Canny and will look to repeat the success with this youngster. "I know he missed the start today, but he looks a real sprinter and we have a full sister to him at home." Retained to race, The Unknown Factor is the third winner from the Forest Glow mare Mixed Up Miss, who was also trained by Vella and won eight races at Canberra and surrounds. Mixed Up Miss hails from the family of Group 1 winners Mr Celebrity, Prince Salieri and Kiss Me Cait. The Factor shuttles from his base at Lane's End in Kentucky to Newgate where he stands at a fee of $11,000 (inc. GST).
The BHA has announced it will introduce a minimum rating requirement for all Group One Flat races for 3YOs and older to preserve the prestige of its biggest races, reports Racing Post. The move comes after 1000-1 shot Diore Lia was declared to run in this year’s English Derby. From now on, all runners will have to have a rating of 80 to take part. "The question of whether races that form the pinnacle of our sport should require a minimum standard of competitiveness from equine participants is one that has been discussed in the past, but without agreement being reached,” said Ruth Quinn, the BHA's director of international racing and racing development. "Introducing a minimum rating for these races has three clear benefits. First, it will help protect the welfare of the human and equine participants in our major races by reducing the risk that comes with inferior horses competing against far superior opponents, second, it will ensure the risk of unsatisfactory results in these races is reduced by taking out the unknown factor…that can be caused in running by an inferior horse, and finally, it will help preserve the reputation and public perception of our top races as crown-jewel events.”