By Grahame Timbrell, Photos Steve Hart

Tom Sherry, the former Irish apprentice who only started riding in Australia last October, has hit the lead in the NSW apprentices’ premiership after riding a winning double at Wyong on Thursday.

Sherry won the Doylo Maiden (1350m) in a boil over on the Paul Perry trained La Jolie Fille ($10) when they beat the heavily backed long odds on favourite Pitchfork.


Later in the day he scored on the heavily backed Ladies’ Gem with a gem of a ride in the Bishop Collins Chartered Accountants Benchmark 64 (1600m).

That takes him to 90 winners for the season, one ahead of Samantha Clenton who is sidelined with an injury.

It also comes at Sherry prepares to soon start riding in the metropolitan area.

Sherry let Ladies’ Gem ($3 fav) settle on the outside of the leader Apicius until the 600 metres when he made his move.

Sherry had Ladies’ Gem on the fence by the time they turned the corner and she careered away to win by two and a half lengths from Delicately ($9.50) which came from well back early.

That was the fifth win for Ladies’ Gem with three of them coming on soft or heavy going.

His other winner, La Jolie Fille ($10) was the only two-year-old in the race she won but gave her older rivals a galloping lesson.

Pitchfork looked to head the winner momentarily in the straight but the two-year-old fought back along the rail to win by a neck.


Kathy O’Hara combined with trainer Gary Portelli to also landed a double with the pair winning the Great Northern Maiden (1000m) with Absolutely Foxy and the Wyong Rugby League Club Class Two (1100m) with Spaceboy. 

Absolutely Foxy ($6) was another two- year-old to beat older horses, showing blistering speed to lead all the way.

She just lasted to score by half a neck from the James Cummings trained $19 chance Let Me Think (Jean van Overmeire) which came from mid-field and made up many lengths in an impressive debut.

Portelli said that his filly was a precocious speedster which only knew one way to race.

“She showed blistering speed in the (Inglis) Millenium and led for most of the trip when she ran fourth,” Portelli said.

“We decided to try and teach her to settle by riding her back in a trial but she resented it so we decided to her do her own thing out in front.

“She is only a little thing.

“Kathy rode her at Randwick one day for us and said to keep her racing her as a two-year-old because I don’t think she is going to grow.”

Spaceboy was out in a world of his own when he raced right away in the straight to win the Wyong Rugby League Club Class Two (1100m) by almost five lengths.

O’Hara took advantage of her inside draw to let Spaceboy ($2.40 fav) go straight to the lead and dictate terms before exploding away in the straight to beat the Paul Perry trained Titus ($18) by four and three quarter lengths.

That was Spaceboy’s second win in 13 starts despite showing so much promise.

That included a second in the Golden Gift at Rosehill, a third in the Wyong Magic Millions and a fourth in the Magic Millions Maiden at the Golden Coast.

“I know a lot of punters have been dirty on him but it is a relief to see him getting his confidence and winning like that,” Portelli said.

“I put a tongue tie on him for this race and that might have made a difference.

“It was good to see him open up like that late so we will just let him go through his grades.

“He works like a Group horse at home and my challenge is to eventually get him up to that level.”
Brenton Avdulla celebrated his return to riding at Wyong with a gun ride on the Chris Waller trained Rules Don’t Apply to win the Royal Hotel Maiden (1600m).

It was his first ride back at the track after restrictions were lifted following the virus lockdown.

Avdulla let Rules Don’t Apply ($1.70) settle in third with a lovely trail with Adrian Layt rating Misty Brook perfectly in the lead.

Avdulla moved up three wide approaching the turn but the filly took the turn awkwardly which allowed Misty Brook to maintain her lead.

It was not until close to the line that Rules Don’t Apply was able to grab the lead and score by half a neck at her second run back from a spell.

“That will do her confidence the world of good,” stable representative, Clare Heuston, said.

“She comes out of our Warwick Farm stable and the team there has done a great job with her.”

That was the seventh start for Rules Don’t Apply and followed placings at Kembla Grange, Warwick Farm and Canterbury.


Another odds-on favourite was beaten when the imported German bred stayer Arabolini (Jeff Penza) led all the way to win the De Bortoli Wines Class One and Maiden (2100m) beating the $1.55 favourite Alakahan (Keagan Latham).

Penza did a great job in rating Arabolini ($7) in the lead while the Irish bred Alakahan raced in second last place until nearing the 600 metres when Latham started his move.

However, he was spotting the leader too big a start and despite making up a lot of ground in the straight he ended up being beaten a length.

Arabolini is one of only three horses trained at Gosford by John Cooper.

The horse was originally trained by Kris Lees but never raced for him.

After two trials, the second in January last year, the horse was bought by Cooper and after a spell had his first start when eighth in a Taree maiden.

Since then he has had another 10 starts for two wins.

“The horse has been improving all the time,” Cooper said.

“Paul King helped me find the horse and I would like to thank him for that.”


Travis Wolfgram went to Wyong for one ride and ended up a winner when the Craig Carmody trained Buzz ($9) came across from the outside gate to lead all the way and win the Wyong’s Next Raceday Saturday July 11 Benchmark 64 (1350m).

Carmody, a former top jockey, praised the ride.

“Travis rated him really well in front and used his momentum to cruise across from the outside gate to take the lead,” Carmody said.

The was the third win from 13 starts for Buzz which is raced by a syndicate headed by Kim Harding with the horse carrying her colours.



Clare Cunningham is enjoying one of the best seasons in her short training career and is hoping to further her success at Wyong on Thursday.

The Warwick Farm based trainer, who saddles up two runners at the meeting, is only a couple of wins short of her best season with six weeks to go.

The consistent trainer has had 23 winners in 2019/2020 and 42 placings from her 145 runners.

She hopes she can further her success with Kimmylee at Wyong, given the right track conditions.

The Star Witness filly, coming off a fourth at Hawkesbury last start, lines up in the 1600m Benchmark 64.

“As long as the track isn’t too soft, I think she will run a good race,” Cunningham said.

“She’s been a tricky horse for us, but I think we have her worked out now.

“I was quite excited about her last preparation, but she came back a bit more dour and didn’t have the same sprint.

“We were scratching our heads but now realise she just needed more ground.

“She seems to appreciate the middle distances and this race looks ideal for her.”

Kimmylee, a $15,000 yearling, has had six starts for the stable for a win and two placings, her only victory over the 1000m.

Cunningham said she is hoping for a drying track to bring out the best in the filly.

“Hawkesbury the other day was rated a soft 5 but Jason (Collett) said it was more like a seven.

“She was letting down well but didn’t get much traction so a better track should make a big difference.”

Cunningham continues a good association with successful breeders Graham and Linda Huddy when she saddles up first starter Lethal Lucas in the 1600m Maiden.

The Huddy’s have supported her since she began training four years ago, their latest success with promising stayer Lady Highly at Canterbury last week.

She believes Lethal Lucas will require more time.

“He’s a nice enough horse but pretty raw,” she said.

“He will probably have this run and then go out. He’s bred to stay, and it is always good training for the Huddy’s because they are patient.”


Race 1 – 12.54pm: ROYAL HOTEL WYONG MAIDEN HANDICAP (1600m): 1 RULES DON’T APPLY, 2 Our Cheeky Monkey, 3 Past Tense, 4 Misty Brook.

Race 2 – 1.20pm: THE DOYLO MAIDEN PLATE (1350m): 1 PITCHFORK, 2 Timon Stinger, 3 Delector, 4 La Jolie Fille.

Race 3 – 1.55pm: GREAT NORTHERN MAIDEN PLATE (1000m): 1 COAT OF ARMS, 2 Pure Rubick, 3 Glock, 4 Essoess.

Race 4 – 2.35pm: DE BORTOLI WINES 4YO & UP CLASS 1 & MAIDEN (2100m): 1 ALAKAHAN, 2 Mick An’ Nicks, 3 Mr Costigan, 4 Dr Mayhem.

Race 5 – 3.10pm: WYONG RUGBY LEAGUE CLUB GROUP CLASS 2 HANDICAP: 1 SHADOW BRIDGE, 2 Archery Butts, 3 Spaceboy, 4 Belladeel.

Race 6 – 3.50pm: BISHOP COLLINS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT BENCHMARK 64 (1600m): 1 APRIL THUNDER, 2 Delicately, 3 Kimmylee, 4 Red Hot Chillypins.

Race 7 – 4.25pm: WYONG’S NEXT RACEDAY SATURDAY JULY 11 BENCHMARK64: 1 MANTELLI, 2 Ondo Pasa, 3 Rabbit Clause, 4 Emergent.



By Frances O’Shea, Photos Steve Hart

Veteran local trainer Stan Thomas was in the winner’s circle with his tough mare Ondo Pasa in a race honouring a fellow Wyong trainer Johnnie Roberts.

The six-year-old brought up her eighth career win and the third on her home track.

She was disappointing at her last start at Wyong on May 14 after being caught three wide but atoned for that with a convincing one and a half-length victory.

Mikayla Weir continued a great association with Ondo Pasa, having combined with her in her last three wins.

Mikayla Weir continued a great association with Ondo Pasa

Kindly given to Thomas by a couple of valued friends, Ondo Pasa has now amassed more than $215,000 in prizemoney.

It was a popular win for the 83-year-old trainer, who has three horses in work.

“She’s been a great horse for me. She tries hard every time she goes around and that’s all you can ask,” Thomas said.

Weir had Ondo Pasa ($9) toward the rear of the field in the early stages, circling the field on the turn and fighting on in the straight to claim victory.

She beat the Widdup trained Louder ($31), with Nishka ($8.50) from the Ron Quinton stable, third.


Tom Sherry extended his lead in the provincial jockey’s premiership and took out the riding honours at Wyong with a winning double.

Currently the State’s leading apprentice, Sherry now has 46 wins in the premiership, five ahead of his nearest rival.

The first leg of his double came on De Grawin in the 1000m DE BORTOLI WINES MAIDEN PLATE.

He piloted the Joe Pride trained filly to a length win, in her first run for the new stable.

The Snitzel filly was placed twice in two starts for Matt Vella, before being transferred to Pride.

She had trialled well leading into the Wyong race, and was heavily supported by punters starting at $2.20.

Sherry drove the filly to the lead from the barriers and she travelled well throughout, holding out her rivals, to score by a length.

De Grawin beat Giselle Anne ($7) trained by Lee Curtis, with Godolphin trained Segosha ($9), third.

Sherry, who had been favourite in the jockey’s challenge, had to wait until the final race to bring up his double.

He combined with his master Mark Newnham, to win the WYONG’S NEXT RACE DAY THURSDAY JUNE 18 CG&E BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP over 1350m.

Newnham had the Shamus Award gelding primed for a strong first up performance, following an eye-catching trial win at Warwick Farm on May 22.
He was sent out $4.20 equal favourite and didn’t disappoint, beating fellow Darby Racing runner Amoretti by a long neck.

Sherry had the four-year-old three-wide with cover in the early stages, looming up on the turn, before hitting the front around the 200m.

He was able to hold out the Portelli trained Amortetti ($26), with Cubix ($4.20 eqfav) from the Matthew Dunn stable, two lengths behind in third.

A $150,000 yearling, Academy has now had three wins from eight starts.


All Things put on a dominant staying performance to take out the 2100m SKY RACING CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE in his first trip over the distance.

The So You Think gelding, trained by John Sargent, is compiling an impressive record with two wins and three placings from seven starts.

Foreman Campbell Ashby believes the four-year-old will continue to improve.

“That’s his trip and I think he will get further than that,” he said.

“Andrew (Gibbons) was able to get him into a good spot and into his rhythm.

“He’s a momentum horse and he got that today. He out-toughed them all.

“He is still very immature, and he’ll improve from that win.”

Gibbons settled All Things just behind the leaders, before moving up around the 500m and hitting the lead on straightening.

He got into a battle with Seporto in the final stages but kicked on the line to win by a half neck.

All Things ($6) was coming off a fourth at Newcastle over the 1800m, having broken through for his debut win the previous start.

He beat Seporto ($4.80) trained by Clarry Connors, with Mick ‘N Nicks ($16) from the Peter Robl stable, third.


A strong ride by Lee Magorrian secured victory for the Waller trained April Thunder in the GREAT NORTHERN MAIDEN HANDICAP over 1600m.

Magorrian had to work hard on the Sebring filly after she looked to have dropped the bit mid-race.

She responded to his hard riding, hitting the front in the straight to score a three quarter of a length win.

April Thunder, a $120,000 yearling, had been strong on debut at Randwick in December finishing third but then failed at her subsequent four starts.

She was coming off a seventh at Hawkesbury last start and seemed to appreciate the step up to 1600m.

She was sent out $3.80 second favourite and didn’t disappoint, with the $3.40 favourite and early leader, California Spell, finishing back in the field.

April Thunder is raced by Hermitage, who also owned multiple Group 1 winner The Autumn Sun.

Jazirat ($8) from the Godolphin stable put in a much-improved performance to finish second, with Our Cheeky Monkey ($5), trained by Gary Portelli, three and a half lengths behind in third.


An exciting three-way finish in the 1100m TAB.COM.AU CLASS 2 HANDICAP with the Terry Drayton trained Belladeel ($15) snatching victory on the line.

The Dundeel gelding upset some of the more favoured runners to bring up his second career win.

There was late support in the betting for the four-year-old, who was coming off an unplaced run at Scone on May 15.

Chris O’Brien settled Belladeel just off the pace and chasing the two leaders in the straight looked certain to finish third.

O’Brien drove him to the line, and he was declared a half head winner in a photo finish.

Previously trained by Chris Waller, Belladeel was having his sixth start for the new stable. He beat Shadow Bridge ($4.80) from the Mark Newnham stable, with the Snowden trained Crimlet ($5.50) third.



Andrew Gibbons heads to Wyong on Thursday hoping to continue a winning run.

Gibbons is finishing the season strongly with 10 winners over the past two weeks, bringing up his 100th winner at Newcastle on May 26.

“I know I won’t reach last year’s record of 137 but I’m hoping to get as close as I can,” he said.

“I had a slower start to the season. I went overseas and didn’t hit the ground running when I got back.

“Things have built and built, and the winners are coming. The Corona restrictions have also played into my hands and I’ve picked up some handy rides at the Provincials.”

That trend continues at Wyong with Gibbons four rides all looking to be winning chances.

He partners the Adam Duggan trained Devan in the Class 2 over 1100m.

He has ridden the gelding to back to back wins at Quirindi and Taree and believes he’s earned the chance at Provincial grade.

“He’s been a really nice horse for Adam.

“He only recently got him off Peter Snowden and he was a frustrating horse for them, who kept running places. But Adam’s done a terrific job placing him very well, obviously in lower grades, but he couldn’t be more impressive with both his wins.

“He carried a big weight the other day and got the job done. He’s earned his crack at Provincial grade, so we’ll see if he’s up to it.”

Gibbons believes Hard Lady, from the Lees stable, is another deserving of a chance at the Provincials.

The All Too Hard filly lines up in the 1350m F&M Benchmark 64, coming off a 1200m Tamworth win last start.

“She was a nice horse last time in, but she looks to have come back a bit better this time. She’s bigger, stronger and she did a good job first up.

“They expect her to improve off it. She’s coming from the bush to the Provincials, but I think she’s good enough.”

Gibbons also considers the Kim Waugh trained Mo The Great will show considerable improvement from his first up third at Wyong on May 14.

He starts in the 1350m C&G Benchmark 64.

“I rode him last start and he was a little bit big in condition and needed the run.

“It was on a soft track and I thought he did a really good job to hang around and finish as close as he did. It was testing conditions for him, so hopefully we get a better surface to suit. I think he will improve a lot.”

Completing Gibbons commitments is the John Sargent trained All Things, who he rode to victory at Newcastle on May 9.

The So You Think gelding is shooting for his second victory in the 2100m Class 1 and Maiden.

“He was a bit disappointing when John stepped him up to 1850m, but it was a small field and a tricky run race.

“He was really, really dominant in his first start over the mile and is the sort of horse the further he gets the better he’s going to get.

“The 2100m plays right into his hands, he runs up on the speed and makes his own luck. I’m happy to forgive him the other day.”


Race 1 – 1.10pm: GREAT NORTHERN MAIDEN HANDICAP (1600m): 1 COSTA ZOU, 2 April Thunder, 3 Jazirat, 4 Our Cheeky Monkey.

Race 2 – 1.50pm: DE BORTOLI WINES MAIDEN PLATE (1000m): 1 DE GRAWIN, 2 Absolutely Foxy, 3 Segosha, 4 Fenech.

Race 3 – 2.25pm: SKY RACING CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (2100m): 1 ALL THINGS, 2 Lord Tropicana, 3 Celebrator, 4 Qinghai Lake.

Race 4 – 3.05pm: TAB.COM.AU CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1100m): 1 DEVAN, 2 Belladeel, 3 Rabbit Clause, 4 Estrado.

Race 5 – 3.40pm: 1 VALE JOHNNIE ROBERTS F&M BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1350m): 1 MAISAA, 2 Nishka, 3 Red Hot Chillypins, 4 Ondo Pasa.

Race 6 – 4.20pm: 1 SNITZIFY, 2 Cubix, 3 Academy, Tapiconic.