Comeback queen Samantha Clenton wins Wyong Provincial Championship

An emotional win for Samantha Clenton who cemented her comeback after serious injury taking out the $150,000 POLYTRAK PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER on Turnberry.

Clenton was the State’s leading apprentice when she was injured in a fall at Taree in October 2016 suffering serious spinal damage.

Doctors told Clenton she was fortunate not to be in a wheelchair, but it didn’t deter her drive to return to the saddle.

She spent more than two years on the sidelines recovering and giving birth to her now 16-month-old son Isaac.

Clenton made a comeback to riding only two weeks ago at Scone, the Qualifier win being her third victory from just nine rides.

“It feels wonderful,” an emotional Clenton said.

“I can’t thank Kris enough for his support. It is so good to be back and to win this race today.”

Clenton is apprenticed to Lees, who listened to the race from Dubai where he was waiting an appearance later in the day by Brave Smash in the rich Al Quoz Sprint.

“Kris was on the phone, but I told him I thought Turnberry was gone mid-race,” stable foreman Mal Ollerton said.

“The other runners had got to him and I thought they would just go past but he fought on.”

Turnberry ($7.50), who sat three wide without cover for most of the race, appeared to be headed in the straight but fought on to score a narrow win over the fast finishing Bobbing ($4.20). Bangkok ($18) trained locally by Allan Denham, was a close third.

Ollerton said Lees had told Clenton she would have to ride the horse “ugly” after he drew wide.

“She was stuck three-wide, but we thought that might happen. Kris said ride him like he’s in a 1600m race.

“He’s just a tough, tough horse and he proved that today.

“They’ll know he’s in the final in a fortnight,” Ollerton said.

Turnberry, a $250,000 yearling purchase, brought up his seventh win from 19 starts, including a last start Randwick victory over 1500m on January 12.

The win gave Lees his third runner in the $500,000 final, after Evalina and Chalmers qualified in an earlier race.

With Bangkok’s third placing Wyong trainers now have six representatives in the April 13 final, Safado and Spring Charlie from the Kim Waugh stable, Damien Lane’s duo Oakfield Missile and Oakfield Twilight and the Tracey Bartley trained Miss Redoble.



Kim Waugh looks to have two promising two-year-olds in the stable after Erno ($8.50) and Trajection ($61) outclassed their rivals in the LAKES PODIATRY 2YO MAIDEN.

A large group of excited owners celebrated the Waugh quinella with Rubick gelding Erno scoring a length victory over his stablemate, a Smart Missile filly syndicated by Darby Racing.

Waugh said she had been unable to split the two horses leading into the race.

“They do everything together, so it’s great they went so well. They are stabled side by side, they work together, gallop together, kind of like girlfriend and boyfriend. It’s hilarious,” she laughed.

Serg Lisnyy found the lead on Erno early in the race and Travis Wolfgram settled Trajection just behind him. They stayed that way throughout the running, fighting out the finish, with Maisaa ($8.50) from the Snowden stable, more than two lengths behind in third.

Waugh said there wasn’t much between the two horses but thought Erno may have been a “little bit sharper.”

“He’s a lovely horse. He trialled really well, and she did too.

“He drew a really tricky barrier. I told Serg to just jump out and be positive and work out if he could get in somewhere in the first 100m. He did that and got across.

“The other filly she travelled beautifully, there’s not much between the two but the price difference was huge.

“I was very proud of both of them. You put a lot of work in them to educate them well and to do that first start on a heavy track it’s a great effort.

“Today was just about running them and seeing how they get through the race. They are both really nice.”



Lexi’s Choice was rewarded for her consistency with a breakthrough win in the SERVERS AUSTRALIA MAIDEN over 1350m.

The three-year-old filly, trained at Hawkesbury by Scott Singleton, was sent out $2.70 favourite on the back of two recent fourth placings at Orange and Kembla Grange.

She had to survive a protest from the second placed Well Decorated, before notching up her first victory at her eighth career start.

“She’s been knocking on the door to do something in her past few starts and with the wet track today it helped her,” Singleton said.

“She hasn’t raced on a heavy track before but jarred up a bit on the firm tracks last preparation. She had a little let up and its nice and wet for her now so hopefully she can go on with it.”

Singleton said he expected the Choistar filly would get further this preparation.

Apprentice Brandon Griffiths has partnered Lexi’s Choice at her last two starts and in track gallops leading up to the race.

He settled her toward the rear of the small field, hitting the front half way down the straight and holding out her rivals to win by half a length.

The Michael Plummer trained Well Decorated ($3.80) was second, with Charged Flame ($3.50) from the Waterhouse Bott stable third.



Scott Singleton will target the Orange Cup with Itasca ($15) after his strong win in the LAKE MACQUARIE SHEET METAL CLASS 2 HANDICAP over 1600m.

The Tickets five-year-old returned to the winner’s circle with a length victory over Soldier Of Love ($3.30), with Miss Moana ($7), a length and a half behind in third.

The win gave Singleton a winning double and cause to praise the Wyong track.

“I always have a bit of luck here,” he said. “I’ll have to come back more often.

“We haven’t been having the best run of late. We just needed some luck so it’s great to get a double.”

Singleton said Itasca had been disappointing at his last start when he was narrowly beaten over 2000m at Queanbeyan.

“He just threw it away that day. I’ve put the blinkers back on him and that switched him on a bit today,” he said.

“He’s very consistent. I wanted to run him in the Orange Cup, so I needed to run him over the mile here today.

“This was just an in between race for him. He hasn’t been beaten far in the provincials in a lot stronger races than this. He’s probably a little bit ingenuine but hopefully we can bring the best out in him.”

Itasca, ridden by Jess Taylor, has now had three wins, and six minor placings from 25 starts.



Brad Widdup will consider a trip to Brisbane’s winter carnival with his filly Lily Astolat ($4.80) after her tough win in the 1600m HALEKULANI BOWLING CLUB MAIDEN.

Ridden by Koby Jennings, the three-year-old snatched a narrow victory in an exciting four-way finish.

Widdup said he would rule out a trip to Brisbane if the filly continues to improve.

“I’ll see how far we go with her. Once we get to 2000m there is always Queensland if she’s going well enough.

“I won’t get ahead of myself, but we will see,” he said.

“Her first run was good, and I was a little bit disappointed the other day at Hawkesbury but it’s tough competition this time of year. She’s been racing well and it’s good to see her win here today.

“He probably went a little bit early on her but he’s the one riding so I’ll give him that. Her pattern will be to just ride her quiet and get home. I think she will get over a bit further as well.”

Jennings settled the filly toward the rear of the field, making his move around the 600m mark. He chased the early leader Elgin into the straight and held on to win by a head.

The Sainty Sunrise ($7) from the Maher/Eustace stable was second, with Senatorial ($31) trained by Tony Ball, a short half head behind in third.



A great ride by Keagan Latham gave the in-form Richard Freedman stable their third winner in two days, after Bondi Boy stormed home over the top of his rivals to win the 1100m MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES AIR CONDITIONING AUSTRALIA METRO & PROV MAIDEN.

Freedman had a day out at Muswellbrook on Friday with a feature double, including the Muswellbrook Cup with The Bandit, and Bondi’s victory ended a great week with six winners.

“I’ll probably celebrate tonight because it’s been pretty hectic,” Freedman’s son and foreman Will said. “We’ve had a good run. It’s been great.”

“It was an A-1 ride by Keagan today. There is nothing more to be said. Keagan comes in and rides a bit of work for us and is very much a part of our team. “He’s been doing a great job.”

Latham had Bondi Boy a little worse than midfield for much of the race, squeezing through on the rails in the final stages to score a length win.

Freedman said a change in riding tactics had made the difference.

“It was a different tactic today. Letting him conserve energy and finish off late is his go. If he gets too much open air early, he just over does things. He is a little bit fresh as well and has acquitted himself.

“We will keep going with him, probably another provincial class 1 race and if he shows that he’s got ability to make it back in town, he will earn that right.

“At this point he will need to reproduce it again before we give him a crack in town.”

Bondi Boy ($4.20), beat the Anthony Cummings favourite Making Whoopee ($4), with Jaytees ($5), trained by Gerald Ryan, third.



Praise for jockey Leigh Magorrian after Burbank’s return to form in the 1350m VIETNAM VETERANS KEITH PAYNE V.C HOSTEL CLASS 1.

The Sizzling gelding was last from 14 when resuming at Newcastle on March 21, but a tactical change, well executed by Magorrian, saw the gelding score a convincing three length win.

Stable foreman Clare Heuston said the ride had won the race.

“It was a beautiful win. He doesn’t like being around other horses. Lee was going to ride him positive today. He missed the kick a little bit but just took his time and pinched ground on the outside and had him basically in a very good position coming to the turn,” she said.

“He was full of running and obviously appreciated not being around other horses. That’s the key to him.

“We might find a Canterbury mid-week for him now because he’ll suit the tighter track.”

Burbank ($6), beat the Perry trained Shark Alley ($81), with the Rodney Bailey trained outsider Annie Saturday ($81), third.



Taree trainer Tony Ball had plenty of reason to celebrate after his sprinter Bancroft, the outsider of the field, took out the TWIN LAKES AIR AND SOLAR CONDITIONAL BENCHMARK 70 over 1100m.

Bancroft, ridden by Shaun Guymer, was sent out at $34 but defied the odds to win by a short neck.

Ball, who races the horse in partnership, said it was a great win for him and his owners.

“We got second in an earlier race so to take this out was fantastic,” he said.

“There was so much against him today. He doesn’t handle the heavy and I told Shaun to lead on him at all costs.

“He’s never come from behind in his whole life. I just can’t believe it.

“Ten out of ten to Shaun, it was a great ride.

“He’s missed the kick but then done everything right. That’s why you put the good jockeys on.

“It’s unbelievable, very, very good.

“We will go home now and recoup, see how he pulls up and go from there.”

Bancroft beat Sniponet ($7), trained by Wayne Wilkes, with the $3.50 race favourite Crackneck, trained by Allan Kehoe, third.



Bartley full of praise for Provincial Championship Series

Tracey Bartley is justifiably proud his small stable will be represented in the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championship final at Randwick on April 13.

His consistent mare Miss Redoble secured her spot in the race with a convincing three length win in the Kembla Qualifier last Saturday.

But Bartley isn’t finished there and believes his last start winner McCormack could give him two chances in the final.

“He won pretty well at Kembla on Saturday over 1400m and has pulled up pretty good,” he said. “I had decided before the race that if he won, he should have a go at the Wyong Qualifier.

“It was a bit of a tough run at Kembla, but he came home and licked the bin, so it’s all systems go.

“I’ve just been giving him a trot and canter and he had a swim this morning.”

Bartley said three-year olds didn’t have a great record in the Provincial Championships, but he was hoping McCormack could buck the trend. The Eurozone gelding has had three wins from just five starts and Bartley has always had a good opinion of him.

“I thought he was a pretty nice horse from day one. He’s one of those arrogant horses but he’s putting together a good record and I’m rapt to be training him.”

Bartley believes there will be plenty of speed in the race and would ideally like McCormack to be just behind the leaders.

“They will go very hard in this race on Saturday, no risk in the world, and I think from the four barrier we will be fourth or fifth at best in the run. “He won’t be second like he was the other day but he’s bouncy and he’s well so who knows.”

McCormack is owned by Andrew and Mary Phillips and family from Tamworth, new owners to the Bartley stable.

“They gave me this bloke and Commute to train, and both are going really well,” he said.

“They are really excited about McCormack racing in the Qualifier. It took them six hours to get the Kembla the other day. They were so happy with the win and will be heading to Wyong on Saturday.”

Bartley said Miss Redoble had pulled up well from her win.

The mare was sent out at $51 and upset many of the more fancied runners but Bartley was always confident she would race well.

“I knew she would be hard to beat, and she has pulled up fantastic. I think she will be hard to beat in the final as well.”

Bartley was full of praise for the Provincial Series.

“For a small stable with only 16 horses it’s a great feather in our cap to have a runner in the final and possibly two,” he said.

“It’s not like a Group One race but it’s very good for us provincial trainers, and we are all aiming horses towards these races.”

Wyong trainers already dominate the final field with five runners, including Miss Redoble, previously qualifying.

Kim Waugh and Allan Denham saddle up Fuchu and Bangkok, respectively in Saturday’s race.

The club has a huge day of entertainment planned, with the first of eight races at 1.34pm.



Race 1 – 1.34pm: SERVERS AUSTRALIA MAIDEN HANDICAP (1350m): 1 WORD FOR WORD, 2 Charged Flame, 3 Loving Heart, 4 Well Decorated.

Race 2 – 2.14pm: HALEKULANI BOWLING CLUB MAIDEN PLATE (1600m): 1 LADY LUCIENNE, 2 Elgin, Costa Zou 4 Lily Astolat.

Race 3 – 2.54pm: LAKES PODIATRY 2YO MAIDEN PLATE (1200m): 1 TRAJECTION, 2 Bandersnatch, 3 Anethole, 4 Swiftlet.

Race 4 – 3.34pm: LAKE MACQUARE SHEET METAL LCLASS 2 HANDICAP (1600m): 1 EVERARD, 2 Faith In Kind, 3 Onthetake, 4 Appertizing.


Race 6 – 4.54pm: VIETNAM VETERANS KEITH PAYNE V.C. HOSTEL CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1350m): 1 VENDELLA, 2 Shark Alley, 3 City Of Love, 4 Continuation.

Race 7 – 5.29pm: TWIN LAKES AIR AND SOLAR CONDITIONAL BENCHMARK 70 HANDICAP (1100m): 1 RARE EPISODE, 2 Tony’s Reward, 3 Shelley Beach Road, 4 Rare Episode.

Race 8 – 6.05pm: POLYTRACK WYONG PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER (1350m): 1 BOBBING, 2 Sheriff, 3 Fuchu, 4 Turnberry.




Godolphin’s massive racing, training and breeding empire

Godolphin's massive racing, training and breeding empire 1

The size and scope of the Godolphin racing, training and breeding empire in Australia is mind boggling writes Chris Scholtz today following their latest big race win in Saturday’s $3.5m Golden Slipper.

Clearly it is the largest horse racing and breeding operation in the southern hemisphere, growing exponentially year on year since 2008 when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, became the leading individual player in the Australian thoroughbred industry by purchasing the vast bloodstock and land holdings founded by the Ingham brothers.

James Cummings with the Golden Slipper trophy

Godolphin's massive racing, training and breeding empire 2 James Cummings with the Golden Slipper trophy

Sheikh Mohammed made his first serious inroads into racing and breeding in Australia in 2003 when he purchased Kelvinside Stud in the NSW Hunter Valley. In 2006 Godolphin acquired Northwood Park at Seymour in Victoria and these two studs are still at the core of his local breeding operation, standing some 22 Darley stallions.

Originally Sheikh Mohammed raced all his horses in Australia under the Darley banner but in 2014 he called for his local racing and training interests to be identified under his global Godolphin racing brand.

Godolphin/Darley now has nearly 800 horses in Australia including 22 stallions, 199 broodmares and 375 racehorses plus foals and yearlings.

They are spread across six studs and training locations in Victoria and New South Wales, employing 385 staff made up of 190 in the racing and training sector, 166 breeding staff and 29 in corporate and administration roles.

Sheikh Mohammed’s purchase of the Ingham empire in 2008 enlarged his land ownership to include Woodlands Stud at Denman in the Hunter Valley and the sister Woodlands Cootamundra farm in southern NSW.

The takeover encompassed 1000 horses and also included the Crown Lodge stables at Warwick Farm in Sydney and Carbine Lodge at Flemington in Melbourne along with pre-training and spelling farms in the Richmond district west of Sydney.

Horses previously running in the Ingham’s famous cerise colours overnight raced in Sheikh Mohammed’s ownership and Darley racing colours with former Crown Lodge assistant trainer Peter Snowden employed as his first head trainer in Australia.

In 2014, after Snowden’s departure to begin a training partnership with his son Paul, Sheikh Mohammed appointed John O’Shea as head trainer.

O’Shea held the post until his departure in 2017 and the arrival of James Cummings as his successor.

At the start of the current season Victorian-based Anthony Freedman was also entrusted with a select group of Godolphin two-year-olds, having previously trained under the Darley banner for Sheikh Mohammed in partnership with his brother Lee Freedman.

Sheikh Mohammed

Godolphin's massive racing, training and breeding empire 2 Sheikh Mohammed Picture:Pat Healy Photography

James Cummings is now responsible for the training of 250 horses at any one time, spread across the Godolphin training facilities at Osborne Park at Agnes Banks northwest of Sydney, Crown Lodge at Warwick Farm and Carbine Lodge at Flemington.

Osborne Park is a private training facility covering 126 acres with 84 boxes split between four barns plus an eight-horse quarantine barn used for acclimatising horses arriving from Godolphin’s other international stables.

Osborne Park has three private grass and all-weather gallops, complete with starting stalls.

Crown Lodge has 125 boxes including 16 semi-open yards, a heated salt water swimming pool and walking machines while Carbine Lodge boasts 50 boxes and two walking machines.

Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian breeding arm is a fascinating operation.

Woodlands Stud is the principal home for his broodmares, foals and yearlings and the property where the young Godolphin racehorses are raised and nurtured before they enter the racing system.

Kelvinside Stud, a property first developed as a stud farm by former champion jockey Hilton Cope, is home to the Darley stallions in NSW and is also used as a pre-training facility for Godolphin yearlings and spelling farm for racehorses.

Godolphin yearlings are pre-trained at this facility before entering the racing system.

Northwood Park Stud in Victoria is an historic horse and cattle property that is home to eight Darley stallions plus Godolphin broodmares and foals. It also serves as a spelling facility for Godolphin horses racing in Victoria.

Kiamichi wins the Golden Slipper

Godolphin's massive racing, training and breeding empire 2 Kiamichi wins the Golden Slipper Picture:Steve Hart

The 2018/19 racing season has been the most successful for Team Godolphin with 157 winners and 231 placings to March 23 including 40 stakes wins at a strike rate of 19%.

The 841 Godolphin starters this season have earned more than $18.684 million prizemoney.

The stable has had 24 juvenile winners this season including 12 2YO stakes winners. James Cummings has trained 20 of the 2YO winners with Anthony Freedman winning four races.

Together they have won the two richest Group One races in Victoria (Blue Diamond Stakes) and NSW (Golden Slipper Stakes) with Lyre Horseform (Freedman ) and Kiamichi Horseform (Cummings), the pair being two of the six G1 winners in Australia this season for Godolphin.

The other four G1 wins for Godolphin this season have been recorded by the Cummings-trained quartet Hartnell Horseform (Epsom Handicap) Best Of Day (Kennedy Mile), Alizee Horseform (Futurity Stakes) and Avilius Horseform (Ranvet Stakes).

Kiamichi is the second Golden Slipper winner for Sheikh Mohammed, joining his 2011 winner Sepoy.

Sepoy Horseform also won the Blue Diamond as a 2YO and stands at his birthplace Northwood Park in Victoria.

Sidestep Horseform, the Darley-bred sire of the 2019 winner Kiamichi finished second in the 2013 Golden Slipper and now stands at stud in Queensland under a lease agreement with Telemon Thoroughbreds.

The homebred Kiamichi is out of a half-sister to Denman, another Darley stallion.

Since 2008 Darley/Godolphin have won 30 Group One races in Australia, including the 2018 Melbourne Cup with the UK-trained Cross Counter Horseform from the stable of Charlie Appleby.

Bartley heading to Kembla for rich Provincial Championship bid

Wyong trainer Tracey Bartley is confident his mare Miss Redoble can perform well in tomorrow’s $150,000 Polytrack Provincial Championship Qualifier at Kembla, despite a wide barrier draw.

Bartley said the four-year-old, who put together back to back wins last preparation, had been unlucky at her two runs this time in.

“She hasn’t raced with a lot of luck but I’m happy with how she is going,” he said.

“Barrier 16 doesn’t worry me. I think she can get into a better spot. She really needs the 1400m so this suits perfectly and if she gets clear running, she will be finishing hard.

“I’ve booked Travis Wolfgram. He’s a very good rider and I’m happy with that.”

Miss Redoble is one of three Wyong hopes in the Qualifier, with Kristen Buchanan saddling up last start winner Oakfied Geronimo and consistent gelding Hubble.

Wyong trainers already have four trainers heading for the final, with Kim Waugh and Damien Lane each qualifying two horses at Hawkesbury and Newcastle respectively.

The Wyong Qualifier, the last in the series, will be run on March 30, with the club planning a big day of entertainment.

Kristen Buchanan has two leading chances for Gosford Provincial Champs Qualifier

Kristen Buchanan is confident she has two genuine chances heading into this Saturday’s $150,000 Gosford Polytrack Provincial Championship Qualifier.

Her runners, Invincible Gangsta and Grand Exit are among the field of 16, as the series hits the halfway mark.

Fellow Wyong trainer Allan Denham will also be vying for a spot in the rich final with his mare Bangkok. The four-year-old, a last start Rosehill winner, put together four successive victories last preparation.

Buchanan said both her runners deserve a chance in the race.

“Grand Exit is a nice consistent filly. I like the distance for her and there should be plenty of speed which will suit her,” she said.

“Invincible Gangsta could be a query over the distance but if he gets enough speed, he will have the last crack at them.”

Wyong trainers Damien Lane and Kim Waugh, both have two gallopers already qualified for the April 13 Randwick final.

The $150,000 Wyong Provincial Championship Qualifier will be run on Saturday, March 30.



Wyong has strong representation in Newcastle Provincial Championship qualifier

Damien Lane is excited about the prospect of his two runners in Saturday’s Polytrack Provincial Championship Qualifier at Newcastle.

The Wyong based trainer hasn’t had a runner in the Provincial Championship final at Randwick and hoping this could be the year.

“I haven’t had a lot of chances previously but these two are genuine hopes.”

Lane saddles up Oakfield Missile and Oakfield Twilight, both for well-known owner Bruce Mackenzie.

Oakfield Missile narrowly missed out on securing a berth in the April 13 final, when he finished fifth in the Hawkesbury Qualifier.

Lane said the mare was “very stiff” not to run third.

“With even luck, she would of got third and be in the final already,” he said. “We get another chance at Newcastle and she’s drawn soft this time.

“She likes Newcastle and has won three races there. Grant Buckley is sticking with her and I think she’ll go really well.”

Lane won’t be surprised to see Oakfield Twilight figure in the finish.

“He’s finished second at his last three starts behind three nice horses. He shows the same ability as Oakfield Missile at home but has taken a while to learn what it’s all about.

“He’s got a lot of ability but just has to live up to it on raceday.”

Fuchu, representing the Kim Waugh stable, has drawn barrier five and will be ridden by Robbie Dolan.

He is coming off a barrier trial win at Newcastle on February 27.

Prior to a brief let up he strung together three successive wins at Newcastle, Wyong and Kensington, and looks among the top chances.