Allan Kehoe has no qualms about taking on the ‘big boys’ in this Friday’s Carlton Wyong Gold Cup.
Kehoe saddles up Dragon Dream, the only local runner in the $200,000 Listed feature and despite the five-year-old being eligible for much weaker races, he believes he deserves a chance in his hometown cup.
“They may be too good for him on Friday, but he ticks a lot of boxes and I give him a rough chance,” Kehoe said.
“The weather is the key. He has really strong form on heavy tracks so if the predicted rain comes, his chances will improve.
“This is the best preparation he’s had. He’s a good sound horse, the distance certainly won’t worry him, and he gets around Wyong well.”
Dragon Dream is coming off a last start second at Gosford over the 2100m, the run impressing jockey Willie Pike.
“He thought he was a nice horse and was ready to win for us, but obviously that was in a lower grade.
“He’s a half-brother to multiple Group One winner Dark Dream and is bred to stay. I think he’ll get up over 2400m or further and is an exciting prospect for us.
“We’ve all got to dream, and it would certainly be a fantastic dream if we won the Cup.”
Dragon Dream is up against a strong contingent of Waller runners, with seven lining up for the stable in the field of 12.
Waller has dominated the Wyong Cup in recent years and is chasing his eighth Cup victory since 2010. His last win coming with Wu Gok in 2019.
The in-form Lord Ardmore looks to have the goods on his rivals, having put together two wins and two placings from his four starts this preparation, his latest victory in the Premiers Cup Prelude at Randwick on August 6.
The Waterhouse/Bott stable will also be out to upset the Waller party with Grove Ferry, who is coming off strong runs in both the Premiers Cup and Premier’s Prelude, where he was runner up.
Wyong trainers are well represented in the Listed $160,000 Wyong Leagues Group Mona Lisa with Kristen Buchanan saddling up Pandora Blue and Flandersrain, Tracey Bartley Miss Redoble and Damien Lane Sonnet Star.
The race has attracted a strong field of 16, with Waller chasing a feature double with talented Niconi mare Sur La Mer, who has put together five wins and seven placings from her 17 starts.
The first of eight races gets underway at 12.45pm.
Race 1 – 12.45pm: STONE REAL ESTATE WYONG 4YO&UP MAIDEN (1350m): 1 NANO STAR, 2 Notabadsuspect, 3 Developed, 4 Tyquendo.
Race 2 – 1.20pm: CENTRAL COAST COOLROOMS DA VINCE – 3YO & 4YO BM64 (1300m): 1 I AM GERONIMO, 2 Sumatra, 3 Verzenay, 4 Starstruck Barbie.
Race 3 – 1.55pm: PBL LAW GROUP MAIDEN (1200m): 1 ORZALA, 2 Time To Boogie, 3 Miss Artfire, 4 London.
Classy Dundeel mare Mirror Queen could push on to Friday’s $200,000 Listed Carlton Wyong Gold Cup after taking out yesterday’s prelude.
The race was the feature of an eight-race program on Ladies Day, the first day of the 2022 Cup Carnival.
The large crowd was rewarded with a super day of racing which saw Mark Newnham train a double and young guns Tom Sherry and Reece Jones share the riding honours.
The victories to Jones and Sherry saw them take the lead in the Nathan Berry Shield with six points each, followed by Josh Parr and Jean Van Overmeire on five.
The track received plenty of praise, with an upgrade to a good four half-way through the program.
Michael Freedman could have a future champ on his hands after Hawaii Five Oh’s impressive debut, while Tracey Bartley had a win for the locals with Lady Superspy.
But it was Paul Messara’s progressive four-year-old Mirror Queen who continued her winning run in the feature, the 2100m ROBSON CIVIL PROJECTS WYONG CUP PRELUDE – BENCHMARK 68.
The Dundeel four-year-old is amassing a super record, with four wins and a placing from just seven starts, and he believes she has earned a shot at the Wyong’s Cup feature, with the Prelude win giving her automatic entry.
“We will make that assessment in the next couple of days when we see how she comes through the run,” he said.
“She’s not an overly robust mare, so I’ll see how she pulls up. I haven’t had a runner in the Wyong Cup before and she would certainly have no trouble with the distance going on this win.”
It was Mirror Queen’s first trip over the 2100m and despite some concerns from the stable she had no problem stepping up over extra ground.
Winning jockey Josh Parr said there is plenty of improvement to come for Mirror Queen.
“She was strong to the line. She’s still a raw filly with a lot of improvement to come. She’ll develop into a nice style of racehorse when she develops a bit more of a killer instinct.”
In an open race, Mirror Queen was sent out $3.50 favourite, coming off a third in the Highway at Randwick over 1800m on August 6.
The runner-up, Les Bridges’ Legend Has It ($6) flashed home for second after missing the start by two lengths, with Kristen Buchanan’s Oakfield Pinto ($9.50), running a nice race in third.
Newnham described the $400,000 Magic Millions yearling, as a work in progress.
“It hasn’t been an easy task to get him here, but I was certainly relieved to see him go in the barriers. He’s certainly got the talent.”
“You only have to look at his trials to know he’s not short on talent, but he’s been very stubborn around the barriers. Hopefully we are through the worst of that now and the horse can realise his potential.”
A Deep Field four-year-old, Diamond Flare broke through at his third career start.
Rachel King escaped injury after the second favourite Bringonthebubbles ($3.60) bucked at the start.
It was a relieved Michael Freedman after his well-bred colt Hawaii Five Oh scored through a debut wing in the 1200m THE AGENCY 3YO MAIDEN.
There was plenty of hype around Hawaii Five Oh, a full brother to Libertini, who had been impressive in his two barrier trials this preparation and was sent out $1.50 favourite.
Despite wobbling around the turn the win looked never in doubt, and Freedman believes he will take plenty of improvement from the run.
“He’s a pretty raw horse. He wobbled around the corner, and I think he’ll appreciate a bigger track,” he said.
“He’ll derive plenty of benefit out of the win. It’s hard to take on the more experienced horses and I’ve always felt he will eventually get up over a mile.”
Winning rider Nash Rawiller said he felt Hawaii Five Oh, raced by
Gerry Harvey and John Singleton, could be “something pretty good.”
“It was a good effort today,” he said. “It was quite a tough run last start and he stuck on well for second that day. I was quite confident today.”
The Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou trained Mayhem ($3.50fav) was the other winner on the program, the Russian Revolution gelding too strong in the CARE 2 THE MAX BENCHMARK 64over 1350m.
The three-year-old, ridden by Jean Van Overmeire, defied a late betting drift to win by almost a length.
The victory came after his win on at Goulburn over the same distance on August 8.
Apprentice Jackson Searle was cautioned by stewards regarded his ride on the Kim Waugh trained White Boots, who found he had erred not shifting his mount to the outside of Zaidin near the 400m and didn’t riding his mount out to the line.
No action was taken, with stewards mindful of his ‘inexperience as an apprentice.’
James Ponsonby has the Carlton Wyong Gold Cup in his sights if his stayer Alloway can taste success in Sunday’s Cup Prelude.
The Wandjina five-year-old has been racing in good form since joining the Ponsonby stable earlier this year, with a win and two placings from his five runs.
He starts from barrier 10 in the 2100m BM68 Cup Prelude, the feature race on day one of the Cup Carnival, with the winner earning automatic entry to Friday’s $200,000 Listed Carlton Wyong Gold Cup.
And the trainer believes if he can race up to the form which saw him placed second in the 2200m Listed Tasmanian Guineas, he will be right in the finish come Sunday.
“I was pleased to see him race well at Wyong in his first win for me on June 16 over the 2000m,” he said. “His subsequent start at Hawkesbury was good and he went really well in the Highway last start.
“He’s drawn a bit wider than I would prefer but he seems to be a horse that puts himself handy to the pace.
“Winona (Costin) knows him well and she can hopefully roll forward from the barrier and have him up there. It’s a nice even field, not unlike a Highway race, and I give him a good opportunity.”
Ponsonby said he wouldn’t have any qualms pushing onto the Wyong Cup if Alloway were to win.
“I’d have no hesitation at all. Obviously, it’s a much stronger race and he’d have to keep improving but he gets over the 2000m and is racing well.”
Ponsonby saddles up two other runners at the meeting, Walk Up Start in the 1600m Prov & Ctry Maiden and Dark Satin in the 1600m Class 1 and believes all three are definite chances.
Kristen Buchanan represents the locals in the Cup Prelude with Oakfield Pinto and while acknowledging he is up in grade, also gives him a good chance.
The Dundeel five-year-old, coming off a last start win at Newcastle over 1600m, will start from barrier one with Rachel King aboard.
“He was quite impressive last start but in saying that he sort of got left alone and may not get those favours on Sunday. He’s placed at this trip and is weighted pretty well with 55kg.
“He’s very cool, calm and collected and we thought this was worth a throw at the stumps. It would be very exciting to get him through to the Cup.”
The first of eight races gets underway at 12.20pm.
RACE 1 – 12.20PM: THE AGENCY 3YO MAIDEN (1200m): 1 HAWAIII FIVE OH, 2 Dear Jewel, 3 Villa Tinto, 4 Eagle Nest
RACE 2 – 1.00PM: JOHNNIE ROBERTS MEMORIAL PROV & CTRY MAIDEN (1600m): 1 SOLAROSA, 2 Speedy Song, 3 Wheni Sayucan, 4 Gingembre
RACE 3 – 1.40PM: MAGIC MILLIONS RACING WOMEN LA GIOCONDA – F&M BM68 (1600m): 1 SANSTOC, 2 Sebring’s Rose, 3 Eve ‘N’ Ruby, 4 Clear Blonde
There was plenty of expectation about Joe Pride’s Think About It and Waller’s debutant Narito leading into the meeting, and they didn’t disappoint, both winning in impressive style.
Mark Newnham and Chris Waller shared the trainer’s honours with doubles, while Brenton Avdulla was the leading rider, also with a double.
There was plenty of praise for the track, with an upgrade midway through the afternoon.
A few nervous moments for favourite backers in the 2100m WYONG TRAINERS’ PREMIERSHIP WINNER KIM WAUGH MAIDEN, with $1.80fav Piempurr holding on to win by a narrow margin.
The Mark Newnham trained daughter of Pierro, earned strong support on the back of her consistent provincial form, her latest outing a fourth at Kembla over 2000m in stronger company.
Tim Clark was happy to settle the four-year-old just off the lead in the early stages before taking her to the front around the 1100m mark.
She fought on in the straight under vigorous riding by Clark and was able to hold out the late challengers to win by a neck.
Clark said he didn’t believe Piempurr was at her best, given a ‘quickish” back up from Kembla but it was a great job for her to still get the win.
Local galloper Dragon Storm ($26) trained by Allan Kehoe finished strongly in 2nd after not much luck in the straight, while Selvam ($26) from the Jeremy Sylvester yard was doing his best work on the line.
It was a case of third time lucky for the Waller trained I Am Geronimo who broke through for his first win at his third attempt on the Wyong track.
The I Am Invincible gelding started $1.45 favourite and didn’t disappoint beating his stablemate Nano Star ($6) by a length.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Brenton Avdulla after I Am Geronimo missed the start in 1350m 2022 TRAINERS’ PREMIERSHIP WINNERS GAI WATERHOUSE & ADRIANBOTT MAIDEN.
“That wasn’t the plan,” Avdulla said. “He hasn’t done that the two previous times I’ve ridden him, but luckily it was a race that lacked pressure and I was able to keep him wide and keep him going. There is some upside to him and if he can learn to relax it will help.”
Nano Star fought on well in the straight and it was a much-improved run by Rodney Bailey’s Single Babe ($41) to finish third.
Joe Pride is excited about the prospects of his four-year-old Think About It who brought up his second win from start two in the 1350m 2022 WYONG JOCKEYS’ PREMIERSHIP WINNER JASON COLLETTCLASS 1.
The $70k yearling looks to have a bright future, with both Pride and winning rider Rory Hutchings believing there is plenty of improvement to come.
Think About It looked good scoring on debut at Kembla on July 30, with both placegetters’ subsequent winners.
“He’s a pretty smart horse and he’s shown that in his two starts now,” Pride said. “He’s nowhere near the finished article. When he has a spell and puts on some weight he’ll further improve. Rory is a fantastic jockey, but he won’t get an easier ride than that.”
In an effortless win, Think About It ($1.40) beat the Neasham trained Flying Witness ($4.40) by a length and a half, with Warren Ganderton’s Poetic Miss ($16) third.
An exciting finish to the 1600m 2022 LEADING APPRENTICE JOCKEY REECE JONES AND TOMSHERRYCLASS 1 with Brynner ($4.80) getting the bob on the line.
The son of Contributor wound up in the final stages of the straight to run down the Joe Burges trained Mr Eighty Eight ($9.50) on the line.
Trained by Jason Coyle and ridden by Kathy O’Hara, Brynner brought up his second win at start 12.
O’Hara said the four-year-old would improve off the run.
“He’s a progressive sort of a horse who is going through his grades nicely. He still doesn’t know how to put them away but hopefully next preparation.”
The Replicant ($2.80) from the Pride stable, finished third, and isn’t far off another win, while the $2.50 race favourite Believe So, trained by Anthony Cummings, had difficulty getting clear running in the straight and could be the one to follow.
Another exciting prospect unveiled in the 1100m LAURAINE BUCHANAN BEST MUM EVER CG&E MAIDEN PLATE with the Waller trained Narito.
There was plenty of hype surrounding the Maurice four-year-old, who was having his first race start, coming off a Rosehill barrier trial in late July.
He was sent out $2.35 favourite and the win never looked in doubt courtesy of a great James McDonald ride.
He settled the four-year-old just off the speed, bringing him to the lead in the straight where he was able to run down the front-runner to score by two lengths.
“He’s a really nice horse,” McDonald said. “He’s very progressive and would have learned plenty from today. He’s got plenty of untapped ability and they’ve taken their time with him. He’s got a lot of pace and I’d love to see him over more ground.”
Mark Minnervini’s Soobooco ($11), put in another honest run to finish second, while the Pride trained Sacred Field ($3.60) was third, after being slow to begin.
A tough win by Crystalene ($4.40) in the 1100m FAREWELL WRC RACING & OPERATIONS MANAGER DEAN GROGANF&M MAIDEN brought up a double for the Mark Newnham stable.
The Snitzel filly was on debut and impressed with a strong win, toughing it out in the straight to get the bob on her rivals in an exciting three-way finish.
She impressed jockey Tom Sherry, who believes there are more wins to come.
“She’s got a brilliant attitude and great temperament. There is plenty of improvement left in her and this win will stand her in good stead going forward,” he said.
Raced by relative newcomers Iron, Crystalene was a $475,000 yearling.
She beat the Cummings trained Perpignan ($4.60), who isn’t far off a win, with Edna ($9.50) trained by Craig Carmody, third after pulling in the early stages.
Nathan Doyle’s honest mare Bullinachinashop made the step up to provincial grade in great style, taking out the CARLTON WYONG GOLD CUP FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2 CONDITIONALBENCHMARK 68 over 1100m.
The victory was the second consecutive win for the daughter of Bull Point, and her fourth career victory from just 10 starts.
There was some late support for Bullinachinashop, who started at $10.
Dylan Gibbons gave the four-year-old the perfect ride, sitting just off the leader, before hitting the front midway down the straight and pulling away to win by almost a length.
Runner-up, Brad Widdup’s Unyielding Spirit ($11) fought on well, with Moralist ($4.20) trained by Matthew Smith, third.
“She’s a little ripper,” Gibbons said after the race. “She’s as tough as they come, and she really dug deep today. She’s got that killer desire and they keep raising the bar and she responds.”
The $2.80 favourite Belladeel missed the start and failed to run on.
Dijon appreciated the drop back in distance to bring up a dominant win in the 1000m WYONG’S NEXT RACE DAY SUNDAY AUGUST 28 CLASS 1.
The Headwater gelding had too much speed on his rivals, the win bringing up a double for Brenton Avdulla.
He took luck out the of the equation leading throughout, pulling away in the final stages to win by a length.
Co trainer Gerald Ryan said the four-year-old was more genuine since he was gelded.
“He’s very sharp, not top class but very fast and if we keep placing him right, we’ll win more races. I think he’s up to a midweek in town,” he said.
Dijon ($4.40) beat Michael Freedman’s $3.50 favourite Insurrection, who appeared to have every chance, with Fire And Ice ($3.70) from the Minervini stable, third.
FRESH from a TAB Highway success at Rosehill Gardens at the weekend, Joe Burges will be back on the road again tomorrow.
But this time the young Taree trainer’s trip to Wyong with last-start winner Mr Eighty Eight will be a snack compared to the recent 15-hour round trek he undertook to the Forbes Cup Showcase meeting to shed the gelding’s maiden status.
Having his 14th start (but only his third for Burges), the Tavistock six-year-old easily won a 1600m Maiden Plate at Forbes on July 31 to put behind a frustrating run of 10 minor placings.
Having made the running but given little peace, Mr Eighty Eight comfortably held out his rivals and was strong to the line.
Thirty-six-year-old Burges took two horses to Forbes for the feature Sunday program and also scored with Barry’s Lane later in the program.
He and his wife Emma returned to their Bulahdelah base the next day, completing a hectic three days of travel as Zaru (who gave the trainer the second highway victory of his brief career last Saturday) had raced at Rosehill on the Saturday before the long trip to Forbes got underway later that afternoon.
Whilst Burges admitted he felt “a bit flat for a few days” afterwards, he feels the decision to go bush has worked in more ways than one for Mr Eighty Eight, who is raced by a syndicate headed by former Wyong racecourse and now Taree racecourse curator Scott Olson.
“Mr Eighty Eight has been a finicky eater, but there has been a real change in him since the trip to Forbes,” Burges said.
“Not only did we manage to get his maiden out of the way, but he is eating so much better.
“I’m really happy with the horse, and this time the trip will take only about one and a half hours down the highway.
“We’ll find out tomorrow whether he can beat some of the city horses at Wyong, but he has a nice drop in weight and I’m sure he will acquit himself well again.”
Burges has booked leading apprentice Dylan Gibbons for the Wyong Leading Apprentice Jockey Reece Jones and Tom Sherry Class 1 Handicap (1600m).
Gibbons’ 1.5kg provincial claim ensures Mr Eighty Eight will relish carrying 4.5kg less than the 59kg he successfully humped at Forbes in a set weights Maiden.
It’s not the first time Burges has called on the talented young Newcastle jockey.
“Dylan rode Barry’s Lane (whom Burges owns) to break his maiden over 1450m at Kempsey in June last year,” he said.
Dual acceptor Edge Of Darkness has been withdrawn from Mr Eighty Eight’s Wyong race, reducing the field to seven.
Instead, Newcastle trainer Grant Marshall’s Edge Of Darkness will line up one race earlier in the Wyong Jockeys’ Premiership Winner Jason Collett Class 1 Handicap (1350m), and Kacie Adams has the ride.
Fellow Newcastle trainer Mark Minervini has given a strong lead to lightly-raced Fire And Ice’s prospects in the Wyong’s Next Race Day Sunday August 28 Class 1 Handicap (1000m).
Minervini pulled the Hellbent three-year-old out of the Listed Rosebud (1100m) against his own age at Rosehill last Saturday to focus on the Wyong race, and booked Hugh Bowman.
Fire And Ice, with Bowman up, outclassed his rivals over the Wyong 1000m to easily win a 2YO Maiden there on July 19 toward the end of the last season.
Minervini also has found Bowman for another lightly-raced three-year-old Soobooco in the Lauraine Buchanan Best Mum Ever CG&E Maiden Plate (1000m).
James McDonald rode the Sooboog colt on resumption – and at his first start since tackling the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) on debut on a very heavy Royal Randwick surface in March – when runner-up to the promising Hawkesbury mare Aureus Angel in a Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1000m) at Kembla Grange on August 4.
Soobooco had won trials at Wyong (June 29) and Muswellbrook (July 22) before going to Kembla Grange, and is bound to have taken improvement from that run.
Interestingly, McDonald has taken the mount in Soobooco’s race on Chris Waller’s unraced Maurice four-year-old Narito, who heads the early pre-post market.
. The rail is 4m out for the entire circumference, and the track this morning was rated a “Soft 5”. The 1350m to 1000m chute, however, is a “Soft 7”. There has been 7mm of rain recorded in the past seven days, but none in the last 24 hours. Racing begins at 12.35pm.