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By Graham Potter | Friday, January 5, 2018

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you realised you were running very late and that you were not going to make it ... wherever you were going, whatever you were planning to do ... in time?

It happens to everybody on occasions ... right?

Well then perhaps you can spare a thought for the person entrusted with getting the Darren Weir trained Night’s Watch to the Doomben track for its important assignment in the Shoot Out Quality last Saturday.

Night’s Watch was the favourite for the race. A fair cost had already been incurred in flying the horse to Brisbane where it arrived safely and in good time, but the plan was to offset that expense with a win in that race, which would not only have increased Night’s Watch’s stake earnings by $64 000 but, and this was the real aim, a win there would have given Night’s Watch a wildcard, automatic entry into the $1 million Magic Millions Trophy to be run at the Gold Coast on January 13.

Like I said, it was an important assignment.

But the horse didn’t make it to the race.

It only arrived twenty-two minutes before the Shoot Out Quality was due to jump and was already a scratching when the float pulled into Doomben.

Darren Weir was not in town. He would have received the news and felt helpless. Jockey Damian Lane was in the Doomben jockey’s room left without a ride. The connections must have looked at each other in dismay and wondered, what the hell happened?

There has been some talk of confusion with race times but we will only find out the definitive answer to that question when Weir responds to a charge levelled at the stable by Racing Queensland stewards.

Chief Steward Allan Reardon confirmed, “I have told Weir’s representative we had issued a charge. They have until the end of the week to respond. Then we can make a decision and, if necessary, impose a penalty.”

A penalty, should it be imposed, will make Weir’s start to the new year as bad as the end to the old one.

Either way this unfortunate episode serves as a reminder that life has a way of throwing you a curved ball when you think you have all of the bases covered and that nobody, not even the most successful stable in the country, is immune from a situation where some detail that was never seriously on the long list of things that can go wrong, goes wrong.

We've all been there.

*Update: Darren Weir has pleaded guilty to the charge. Penalty is now under consideration.

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