It is not likely that racegoers would see the top trainer in Australia take a horse to the Burrumbeet races but Darren Weir is and has for a few years.
This year he will have an added interest because the horse he is taking is Palmera Lad a seven year old gelding, in which he has a share, along with a local syndicate.
The Burrumbeet races has been one of the local highlights over the years on New Year’s day.
It has been very well patronised by locals and racegoers from all over Victoria as well as interstate.
Patrons are not there just for the racing but for that carnival atmosphere, enjoyment of a great day out with plenty of food, drink and fashions on the field, which can also spring some surprises on the The racing side has always been seen to cater for the battling horses, the ones that are always racing but rarely winning at the major tracks but in the end, if horses in a race are evenly matched, who cares? The owners love their animals and as you can see they come from top stables like the Weir stable, which usually has about 200 horses in work at four locations in the state: Ballarat Flemington, Warrnambool and a farm complex just out of Maldon where Darren is expected to retire to when he hands over the reins.
Stable foreman Simon McCarten was optimistic about Palmera Lad in the 2018 Burrumbeet Cup saying , “We have set him up for the cup on New Year’s day at Burrumbeet, he is an older horse, a seven year old and probably needs to improve a little bit.
“It all depends on the field and the weight he gets from the handicapper.” The syndicate in this horse is about 10 individual owners with Australasian winning trainer Darren Weir who has 20% of him, which is not unusual for the stable.
The syndicate is spread over Victoria and New South Wales.
“Syndicates are the way to go, people can call us and see what horses we have available and go through, what the cost is,” McCarten said.
“Syndicates are a great way to enjoy racing ownership with a bunch of friends.” Palmera Lad raced on Tuesday (last week) at Geelong over 1400m and didn’t do a lot there, but he is still getting fit after a break.
“In his other two runs he ran just fair, we usually start the horses a bit shorter in distance and build them up from there. He is more an 1800-2000 metre horse,” McCarten added.
“On Saturday he will run at Werribee, over a mile, then that should step him up nicely for the Burrumbeet Cup.
“Midweek Geelong was the only benchmark for this horse and the midweek city meetings are stronger than Burrumbeet, even though the other day was just a standard meeting at Geelong fitness is the key to horses.” Palmera Lad is a rough chance in the Petrogas Regional Burrumbeet Cup if gets a run but he certainly won’t be the roughest in the field and if he can get under 70kg a little flutter won’t be out of the question.
“Last year we ran Unfurl in the cup, which she won then came second at Caulfield and another win in Tasmania after that, which was good for the owners,” McCarten said.
And on the day you never know who will get up.