Windfall for Weir on the right track

VICTORIAN trainer Darren Weir has had mixed luck over the Tasmanian summer racing carnival but it will end on a high if he can capture his final goal.

Weir yesterday confirmed that Hobart Cup winner Hurdy Gurdy Man would return for next week's $225,000 Launceston Cup.

And that puts Weir in line for a potential $63,500 windfall.

First prize for the race is $135,000 of which, as trainer, Weir gets 10 per cent. But, more importantly, he will win a $50,000 trainer's bonus if Hurdy Gurdy Man can complete the feature double.

To put it in perspective, Weir would have to win a race with first prizemoney of $635,000 - or worth $1 million overall - to match that payday. A further $50,000 bonus is available to the horse's owners.

Although Weir achieved his main goal when he won the Hobart Cup, he's been a little unlucky not to collect further bounty.

His filly First Bloom finished an unlucky second in the $100,000 Strutt Stakes in Hobart then went down by a half head to Global Balance in the $100,000 Tasmanian Oaks at Mowbray on Wednesday night. Jockey Michelle Payne protested against the Oaks winner for interference between the 1800 metres and 1600m.

The protest was dismissed after stewards found that Global Balance's rider Stephen Baster was "not solely responsible" for the interference.

They found that Alexa Cee, ridden by Jarrod Fry, had shifted in and tightened Global Balance on to First Bloom who had to be checked twice.

Fry was suspended for two meetings. Ezee Ezee caused interference to Gossip Guru and Settler's Joy, and her rider, Daniel Stackhouse, was suspended for three meetings.

Final acceptances for the Launceston Cup close at 9am today.

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