Huge storm washes out Doomben meeting

The Doomben meeting has been called off with a sudden storm dumping more than 100mm of rain on the racecourse in 30 minutes.

Friday’s final four races were lost when it became apparent the water would not run away in time to allow racing to resume.

The Listed Calaway Gal Stakes and Listed Phelan Ready Stakes are likely to be run at Doomben on Wednesday.

Two heats of the Jockeys Origin Challenge were also abandoned reducing the series to three heats.

The storm flooded the parade ring, betting ring, winners enclosure and car parks.

The rain was accompanied by strong gusts of wind which played havoc with several Christmas party marquees.

Course manager Jim Roberts said 104mm of rain was recorded during the storm and the main problem was surface water on the track.

Stewards and jockeys inspected the track and decided to give it some time but after another inspection stewards deemed the track unsafe for racing and abandoned the remainder of the meeting.

“There was too much water still on the track,” steward Neil Boyle said.

He said the ambulance could not follow the fields because the inner track was flooded.

Victoria won the only race in the Origin series when Brett Prebble won on Niatross.

In a 2200m race where the lead changed several times, Prebble did not panic and was able to sit Niatross ($8) behind the pace before coming away to beat Queensland’s Jim Byrne’s mount Roulette Royal ($17) by two lengths.

Michael Rodd was third for NSW on Paris Crystal ($14).

Niatross is trained by Toowoomba’s Dale Groves who celebrated his first Doomben win with the gelding.

Groves has now won three races with Niatross who was originally trained by Kris Lees.

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