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Canberra's Thoroughbred Park to implement heat policy

Extreme heat could affect the running of Canberra Racing's second Federal Handicap, but chief steward Jim Walsh is confident heat protocols will allow the races at Thoroughbred Park to run as scheduled on Friday.

With the mercury climbing to a predicted 38 degrees, stewards and veterinarians will work together to ensure horses and jockeys handle the heat.

Canberra's hottest time of the day is generally 4-5pm, with the $40,000 Federal set to jump at 5.20pm.

Racing NSW's hot weather policy instigates level one protocols when the temperature reaches 35, with level two introduced at 38.

It means an extra vet will be on course to help check the horses for any signs of heat stress both before and after races, with an air-conditioned stall provided for recovery and reduced pre- and post-race parades abandoned.

Under extreme circumstances races can be delayed, postponed or even abandoned if the stewards and vets deem it necessary.

But Walsh was confident the heat policies should ensure that's not necessary.

"The program will go ahead as scheduled, we'll monitor conditions as we progress through the afternoon," he said.

"If the stewards, after consultation with the veterinarians, become concerned about the welfare of horses and riders we certainly have the options of delaying, or worst-case scenario of postponing or abandoning the remainder of the program."

Walsh was at the Wagga Wagga races last Friday where the temperature reached 39.3 degrees, but the race schedule was completed without any drama.
He said horses struggled to cool down when there was high humidity combined with heat.

But the Bureau of Meteorology was predicting relative humidity would be just 11-12 per cent on Friday afternoon.

"We did not have one instance of a horse suffering heat stress [at Wagga Wagga]," Walsh said.
"Protocols were put in place and everything went along quite smoothly.

"We've had instances in the past where horses have returned with heat stress and that can be dependant on a variety of factors - their travel, humidity is very important as well when it comes to heat stress ... and various levels of exertion coupled with the warm conditions of the day."

Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones's Croix De Vie will be looking to win the first two Federals after saluting two weeks ago and was one of two horses, along with Inch Perfect, entered from the stable.

Fellow Canberra trainers Keith Dryden and Scott Collings have Atlantic Sentinel,

Tougherthantherest and Prince Jacko running, while Matthew Dale's Exaggerate and Fun Tickets will also jump.

Canberra Racing set up The Federal after Racing NSW banned Canberra horses from running in the Highway Handicap series in Sydney late last year.

There's $10,000 in bonus prizemoney for the first three Canberra horses across the line.

Article courtesy of Fairfax Digital and The Brisbane Times

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