500km road trip for first Weir runner

PREMIER trainer Darren Weir will break new ground on Saturday when the stable takes two runners to Moe – a 500 kilometre and six-hour round trip from their Ballarat base.

Racing manager Jeremy Rogers said the homework had been done for Weir to have his first runners at a Moe meeting. “We know it is farther down the highway than Traralgon,” he joked.

Archibar, a seven-year-old gelding, will run in the 0-58 highweight handicap (2400m) and Hayite, a four-year-old mare, will contest the fillies and mares benchmark 64 (1200m.).

Archibar has had 33 starts for three wins and seven placings. Hayite is lightly-raced with only five starts for one win (at Terang on December 13 last year). Her win was followed by a third at Moonee Valley, eighth of 11 runners at Flemington, a fourth of 12 at Moonee Valley and a first-up seventh at Swan Hill on August 11.

Jumps jockey John Allen, who has been in good form in flat races will ride both stable runners. Allen’s most recent winner was Centauraine at Donald and he also rode the mare into third placing at Sandown last Wednesday.

Allen, 29, is the No.1 track rider for Weir. He has been able to increase his opportunities in flat racing by riding at 58kg.

It will be an early start for Allen and a stable strapper (who will drive the three-horse float) as he also is required to be at Moe racecourse about an hour before his first ride (on Entirely Perfect) in the first race at 1.11pm.

Moe racing manager Mark Hill said Weir’s first runners at Moe were a bonus for Saturday’s meeting.

Some committee members had approached Weir at the VCR awards night and suggested he give Moe racetrack a try. Hill, still claiming it was co-incidental, sat next to Weir at breakfast the next morning and also invited him to bring horses to Moe.

Obviously, the invitations came after congratulating Weir on training the Country Racehorse of the Year award winner, Hurdy Gurdy Man.

Rogers said the 1200m fillies and mares race at Moe was a suitable race for Hayite.

“It is exactly what she wants, and we are expecting her to run well,” he said.

And Rogers said the 2400m distance of Highweight Handicap was suitable for Archibar who was a recent addition to the stable. Archibar has had two trials, either side of a ninth of 12 runners at Geelong.

“We were hoping for some give in the ground at Moe as that would suit both horses,” Rogers said. The race-eve rating at Moe was a ‘dead four’.