ITC on weather watch

GREY SKIES: Kembla Grange has been hammered by heavy rain heading into Thursday's Provincial Championships meeting. Picture: ADAM McLEAN
GREY SKIES: Kembla Grange has been hammered by heavy rain heading into Thursday's Provincial Championships meeting. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Kembla Grange racing manager Michael Craig says the club remains hopeful Thursday’s Provincial Championships qualifier will go ahead as wet weather threatens to derail the marquee meeting.

Like most of the region, the Illawarra Turf Club (ITC) has been hammered by heavy rainfall over the past week which put parts of the track underwater and caused last Saturday’s meeting to be cancelled. A total of 253 millimetres of rain has fallen on the track in the past seven days, however conditions have eased over the past 48 hours, allowing the surface to dry substantially.

It has given the ITC hope of staging the Bede Murray Provincial Championships Qualifier (1400m) provided the track can avoid another torrential downpour. 

The Bureau of Meteorology have predicted from 15-30 mm of rain for the region on Wednesday, with a further 2-5 mm on Thursday

“We have our fingers crossed that we don’t get much rain between now and Thursday,” Craig said. 

“It will definitely be a heavy track, with 10 inches in the past week and another five or six inches leading up to that, so we have had a lot of rain in the last fortnight.

“We are really pleased with how it has dried out so far given the amount of rain we had.”

If more rain hits Kembla there is a possibility the meeting could be moved to another venue.

Last week’s Gosford qualifier had to be transferred to Saturday’s Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill due to wet weather.

Gwenda Markwell took out the heat with promising mare Pomelo while Kerry Parker qualified Heavenly Anna in the same race.

Markwell has two runners, Louie Sea Kay and Star Of The Ring, in the Thursday’s field, with Alert By Sea the race’s first emergency. 

Top Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, who has already qualified Princess Posh for the final, has four runners nominated for the Kembla heat.

Beretta, Knit ‘N’ Purl, Star Reflection and Fashion Sniptz make up Lees’s quartet.

The top three finishers qualify for the Provincial Championships final at Royal Randwick on April 8.