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Heat on slade down under

The questions regarding Slade Power are supposed to be about whether or not an Irish sprinter can travel across the world and beat the Aussie's in their back yard.

Instead, the questions regarding Slade Power are now about his participation in the VRC Sprint a week on Saturday.

This was an exciting journey for the Lynams (who have nurtured the five-year-old to become Europe's finest), the Powers (in whose colours he will run for the last time), Darley (who have purchased the colt for stallion duties after he has run his last race - due to be in the VRC Sprint) and Wayne Lordan, who has built up a relationship with the horse.

Instead, it has turned into a bit of a nightmare. What was expected to be a pretty routine barrier trial at Flemington saw Slade Power jumping out of the stalls on his own and cantering up the straight at the track. It has also become one of the biggest news stories in Australian sport.

The coverage the Melbourne Spring Carnival gets down here has to be seen to be believed and Slade Power has this year seemed to earn more column inches than Gai Waterhouse, the first lady of racing down here who certainly isn't shy.

Slade Power himself is based with the Darley operation at Flemington whereas the rest of the international horses are at Werribee Racecourse about 25-minutes outside of Melbourne.

It was there yesterday morning that Terry Bailey the chairman of the Racing Victoria Stewards made it fairly clear that Slade Power would not be getting any dispensation about going into the stalls last.

Lynam conceded; "We may have had a wasted trip" yesterday after a meeting between himself and officials from Racing Victoria proved unfruitful for the Irish connections.


After Slade Power reared up in the stalls, Lynam yesterday made the point to the stewards that the safety of both the horse and rider Wayne Lordan as well as others around them could be at danger if the horse was to do something similar.

Lynam continued: "I thought the horse's welfare and jockey's welfare might have made some difference, but unfortunately it hadn't.

"We thought there would be some give and take, that there would be some goodwill, but there was absolutely none."

A definite decision on whether Slade Power will line up in the race is likely to be stalled until after the barrier draw for the race and that will take place next Thursday, as should the five-year-old be drawn in either stall eight or 16 he would then be one of the last to load.