Trainer takes no chances
By Grahame Timbrell
Phillip Donnelly holds his breath every time he goes near his talented two-year-old Waratah Grey.
And he is wondering if he should not invest in a surgical mask as he puts the finishing touches to preparing the horse for today's TEN Network Two year Old Plate (1200m) at Grafton.
"I have been battling the worst does of flu I think I have ever had," Donnelly said.
"I don't think horses can catch the flu from humans, but I don't want to take any chances. "I will be very disappointed if my bloke does not win the race.
"He is a lovely big, strong horse, he loves the sting out of the ground and he is really going well.
"A win would be brilliant. It would certainly make me feel better.
"It would probably be a better tonic than any medicine I have tried so far."
Waratah Grey, the winner of three races and more than $15,000 in prize money, is your typical bargain-basement horse.
The mare, Fighting Queen, cost Donnelly just $500.
"My son Peter bought her for me in Victoria," Donnelly said.
"She only had a couple of starts and won one race and was placed a couple of times before she bled and I put her to stud.
"The service to Waratah Grey's sire, Spectacular Spice, cost Donnelly nothing.
"I was owed a favour so we settled on two services to the stallion," Donnelly said.