TAREE trainer Glen Milligan will be more than happy if it keeps raining this week...at least at Randwick.
He reasons that will increase the chances of Swamp Nation winning the final of the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final to be raced at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Swamp Nation won the Mid North Coast qualifying race at Taree in February. This will be Milligan's fourth trip to Sydney for the final, but he was hardly oozing with confidence about Swamp Nation's credentials when he spoke to the Times earlier this week.
"A rough chance,'' he said of the the four year old filly's prospects on Saturday. But a heavy track will be a leveller, he added.
"If it's a wet track I reckon it brings us into the race. But I'm going there thinking that if she runs in the top eight to 10 then I'll be stoked.
"I hope it's a real bog, because she does get through it. I hope it's a heavy 8 or 10, just as long as they race, not like last Saturday (at Rosehill).
"Some of the other qualifying races were superior to our race. This will probably a bit rich for her, but we're there, so we've got to have a go.
"I think the horse that ran second last year and the two out of the race at Scone the other day are the ones to beat.''
Swamp Nation was rated a $34 chance as of yesterday, with Far Too Easy the $4.60 favourite.
Milligan's best result in the lucrative final was third with stable champion and Taree Cup winner Charmmebaby last year.
"I've run a third and a fourth,'' he said.
Swamp Nation started at $21 in the Mid North Coast qualifier and Milligan admits the win was a surprise.
"I didn't think she'd run the 1400,'' he said.
"That was my biggest concern. I thought my other starter, Vicky's One, would win it. But they just went hard in front, they went stupid.''
Jockey Madi Derrick, who steered Swamp Nation to the win at Taree, will have the sit again on Saturday.
"Madi's had two rides on her for two wins,'' Milligan said.
"Hopefully she can make it three this weekend.''
Swamp Nation is raced by a syndicate of 15, headed by Graham Killen from Newcastle and including Milligan and his wife, Vicky.
Bought for $8000, Swamp Nation has won a touch over $170,000 in prizemoney, with four wins from 12 starts.
Meanwhile, Milligan confirmed that Charmmebaby will be back in work soon.
"She'll go round in a country race at the end of April,'' he said.
"She'll have a hit-out there and then go to the Scone Carnival for the Dark Jewel Classic over 1400. Depending on what she does there, she'll probably go back to Brisbane for that carnival.''
However, Charmmebaby won't be seeking back-to-back Taree Cup wins in November, the trainer said.
"She'll be weighted out of that,'' Milligan explained.
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