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  • Provincial Racing NSW


TRAINER Paul Niceforo says he is “over the moon” with Provincial-Midway Championships Final winner Territory Express in Brisbane.

But he anxiously hopes forecast rain doesn’t eventuate for the gelding’s second northern appearance in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1800m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Territory Express, at his Queensland debut and first start since brilliantly winning the $1m PMC Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 13, was slowly away when fourth in the Listed Members’ Handicap (1600m) at Doomben a fortnight ago.

“That run took a bit more out of him than I had expected as he hadn’t raced for five weeks,” Niceforo said on Friday morning.

“But he recovered quickly, and his subsequent work has been outstanding.

“The bigger track at Eagle Farm will suit him better than the tighter Doomben circuit, where he was never comfortable.

“I couldn’t get him any better, and am over the moon with the way he has settled in since arriving in Brisbane.

“But I certainly don’t want the rain they are forecasting to arrive before the race.”

Though the Lord Mayor’s Cup has drawn a quality field, Territory Express’ trainer is confident his four-year-old is up to the task provided he gets suitable conditions.

He is especially pleased to have Jason Collett back on board the gelding.

“Jason helped educate Territory Express and has ridden him in four races and a number of trials, so he knows him well,” Niceforo said.

“I’ll be guided by how Territory Express performs in the Lord Mayor’s Cup and Jason’s advice afterwards as to immediate plans.

“We will either go on to the $1.2m Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm in a fortnight, or give him a break and look to the spring.”

. Hawkesbury stayer and dual venue acceptor Torrens will miss the Lord Mayor’s Cup in Brisbane to stay at home for a resumption in the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday – but again rain will have the final say.]

Torrens, who was withdrawn from the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick in April by RacingNSW stewards on race morning, acting on their veterinary advice, has been cleared to go back to the races.

However, the stallion’s trainer Marc Chevalier also is concerned about the amount of rain forecast for Sydney.

“It’s pleasing to have him cleared to run, but I wouldn’t risk him if the track became heavy,” he said.

“Torrens pulled a muscle on a heavy track in the Chairman’s Quality at Randwick just over 12 months ago, and couldn’t run in the Sydney Cup a week later.”

Chevalier also is keeping a close eye on the weather in respect to his form mare Everyone’s A Star, who is scheduled to contest the Rosehill opener, the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).

Everyone’s A Star has won three of her last five starts, but didn’t let down at her latest on wet ground when unplaced in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m) at the Scone metropolitan meeting on May 18.

Story John Curtis, May 31, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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