Minervini’s birthday win

Minervini's birthday win 1

MARK Minervini rued he could have had an even bigger celebration had a storm not cost him the chance to clinch a Wyong double today.

Whilst the Newcastle trainer was naturally delighted to win a race on his birthday – for the second time in three years – with Smiling Prophet ($8.50) in the NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE F&M BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1100m), he didn’t get the chance to also win the DIMENSION ONE GLASS FENCING CG&E BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1100m) with Soobooco.

RacingNSW stewards called off the last two races due to ongoing storm activity, with lightning present and no imminent signs of improvement in the conditions. 

“It was bad luck because Soobooco has started twice previously at Wyong for a win and a second,” Minervini said.

“He likes soft ground, and there was enough give in the trackafter the storm hit to suit him.

“I thought he was the better chance of my two runners.”

Minervini’s success with Smiling Prophet rekindled a successful association with the mare’s jockey Kerrin McEvoy. Both are expatriate South Australians, and the trainer recalled McEvoy winning a race for him on John’s Brother ($7) in an Open Handicap (1050m) at Morphettville on April 20, 2002.

McEvoy went even further back. “Minners put me on a horse at Morphettville when I was a kid and apprenticed to Russell Cameron on loan,” he said.

“I’ve had a few rides for Mark without getting the money since he relocated to New South Wales, so it was good to get that win for him on his birthday.

“The mare did a good job after being a bit steady into stride.”

Minervini also won a race with Quick Tempo (a 1000m Benchmark 66 Handicap) at Taree on his birthday two years ago.

He paid $35,000 for Smiling Prophet at the 2021 Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association yearling sale, and the now four-year-old mare has more than recouped her purchase price.

Today’s win was her third, following earlier victories at Newcastle and Scone, and she has earned nearly $100,000 (including a BOBS bonus).

“Smiling Prophet is built like a quarter horse, but is a really good mare on her day,” Minervini said.

“She has been a little bit in and out, but appreciated the fast pace up front and it was good to see her do it.”

Fancied pair Chilli Filly ($2 favorite) and Flying Rani ($3) took each other on in front, and were sitting shots in the straight.

After being last settling down on Smiling Prophet, McEvoy saved ground near the inside before switching her around the three horses in front after straightening.

Just as runner-up Maz Kanata ($8) burst through on the inside and was being hailed the winner, Smiling Prophet swooped and won convincingly.

Punters had crashed in the first three races when the favoritesall bit the dust.

Newcastle three-year-old Uncle Harry ($1.80) was never a winning factor when third in the MERCURE KOOINDAH WATERS CLASS 1/MAIDEN PLATE (2100m).

Gun apprentice Dylan Gibbons, who won the recent Four Pillars at Rosehill Gardens for Sydney trainer David Payne, again produced the goods to score on $13 chance Mist Of Battle.

Payne had wanted Mist Of Battle to be ridden more forward, and Gibbons did exactly that and produced a comprehensive victory over Shemran ($7.50).

Things didn’t go Uncle Harry’s way, and he didn’t get into the clear until it was too late, so his third placing should be forgiven.

Coincidentally, Mist Of Battle also started at $13 in his only previous win – in a Gosford Maiden (1900m) 12 months ago, when Gibbons also had the mount.

Locally-trained Red Cobra ($2.80 favorite) couldn’t reproduce his home track breakthrough on November 11, and both he and second favorite Avonview ($3.20) never got into the picture in the STOP ABUSE AT THE START MIDWAY CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1600m), finishing seventh and fifth respectively.

Jockey Jay Ford “stole” the race, getting his own way out in front on Kembla Grange mare Justela ($8), who easily defeated Really Motivated ($14) and Flying Step ($7.50).

The first three placegetters raced in those positions virtually throughout, so it was little wonder backmarkers weren’t able to make their presence felt.

Winning trainer Kerry Parker said the plan was to quicken from the 600m, but Ford was able to control the race and everything worked out well.

“Justela has been going well but her last couple of runs were in slowly run races and she wasn’t able to outsprint them,” he said.

Purchased online in September last year as an unraced early four-year-old for only $1250, Justela has won two races under Parker’s care and earned nearly $58,000.

Racing’s unkindest cut of all seemingly has done the trick for Vomo Island, who broke through in the 1800 RESPECT SUPER 3YO MAIDEN PLATE (1200m).

Returning as a gelding, he justified his $1.70 favorite quote by defeating Mathkhoora ($4.40) and One Last Shot ($6.50).

“The stallion dream is over,” said Snowden Racing’s Colum McCullagh. “He is a racehorse now, and looks a lot more genuine.

“Vomo Island had trialled up pretty well, and we were pretty confident he could win his first race.”

Kerrin McEvoy, who won the previous race on Smiling Prophet, said he had hoped to settle closer on Vomo Island, going on how he had shaped in his recent trials.

“His best work was the last part of the race, and I’m sure he is open to going a bit further in distance,” he added.

A son of Dundeel, Vomo Island had raced five times as a colt for four placings. His sole unplaced run was when unplaced in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens in early September, after which he was gelded.

Trainer Jarrod Austin says the best is yet to come from Look At Moi Kim ($3.30 favorite) in the CONGRATULATIONS TEAM WYONG EQUIMILLIONS 4YO & UP MAIDEN HANDICAP (1350m).

“She has always shown some ability, and there’s a fair bit more to come,” Austin said after the daughter of Smart Missile broke through at her sixth start, relegating Princess Thalia ($4.60) and Meerut ($3.40) into the minor placings in a close finish.

“Look At Moi Kim wobbled around at her first two runs back at Kembla Grange and wasn’t beaten all that far, and then ran off the track at Bathurst when runner-up.

“Once she has filled out and matured, I feel she will be a very nice horse in 12 months’ time.”

Stewards dismissed a protest lodged by Princess Thalia’s rider Jason Collett against the winner, alleging interference over the concluding stages.

Third placegetter Meerut was game after being forced to race wide throughout, and deserves a change of luck.

There was no more impressive winner than Bojangles in the WELCOME KINGSTON INGLIS PROVINCIAL MAIDENPLATE (1100m); the last race run before the storm arrived.

The lightly-raced three-year-old, prepared locally by Kim Waugh, was having only his third start and first since July, and justified his short quote ($1.40 favorite).

Held up for clear running rounding the home turn, Bojangles sprinted quickly once Tommy Berry got him into the clear and his win was “soft” at the end over another local, Damien Lane’s All Too Zatso ($11), who also was held up for clear running at a similar stage, and Rum Diary ($4.80).

“He is only a little fella, and we tipped him out after his first two runs,” Waugh said. “He had a setback after one nice trial (third on the Beaumont track on October 24), but had a jumpout last week and showed he was back on track.”

There was extra significance for Waugh getting Bojangles’ maiden victory out of the way. He is a son of her former good mare Hetty Heights, who won a heat of the Provincial Championships at home in 2016 and was black type placed.

“Bojangles has a very similar personality to Hetty Heights, and I’m sure he will end up as good as her,” she said.

lane on the lookout for rain

lane on the lookout for rain 2
Damien Lane is looking towards the heavens to enhance the chances of one of his four runners at Wyong on Wednesday. 
Lane’s four-year-old mare Really Motivated runs her best races on rain affected tracks and he is banking on the predicted showers eventuating. 
“She’s been crying out for a wet track and I’m hoping we can get it at Wyong,” he said. 
“She’s been a bit frustrating to be honest. She was really good first up at Narromine but only fair second up at Kembla. Out to the mile and with the sting out of the ground we should see her best.”
Really Motivated and stablemate Red Cobra line up in the 1600m Midway Class 1 and will be ridden by Reece Jones and Lane’s stable apprentice Anna Roper, respectively.
Lane is also confident of the chances of last start winner Red Cobra, who broke through over the mile at Wyong. 
“He’s been very consistent and trained on well since his win. Obviously, he suits Wyong and won’t be worried by a soft track.” 
Jason Collett partners three-year-old All Too Zatso in the 1100m Provincial Maiden Plate. 
Lane said the All Too Hard filly hadn’t lived up to his early expectations but there had been excuses. 
“She really showed us good ability at home but was going too hard and wanting to overdo it in her early races. We changed tactics and rode her quieter at Wyong last start, and she came home strongly to finish third. It was a great run and she’s been doing well since. 
“She races well over this distance, and we will look to ride her the same way.”
Lane has tweaked the gear on his fourth starter, La Pelago and believes it should make a difference. 
Anna Roper is engaged for the Star Turn filly in the 1200m 3YO Super Maiden 
“She went really good at Wellington when she resumed from a spell and finished a close second over the 1200m. 
“Last start at Gosford she got her tongue over the bit, so I’ve applied a tongue tie. Hopefully we will see a more improved run. The prizemoney is so good in these races it’s worth having a shot. Depending on how she goes we will look for a race up the bush next start.”
Lane has been enjoying one of his better starts to the season, with 12 winners to date and currently leads the Wyong Trainers Premiership. 
“I don’t worry about statistics too much, but it’s been a good start and would be good to add to that on the home track.”
The first of eight races gets underway at 1.25pm.
 Race 1 – 1:25PM MERCURE KOOINDAH WATERS CLASS 1 & MAIDEN (2100m): 1 SHERMAN, 2 Rapid Impact, 3 Lunar Rising, 4 Uncle Harry.
Race 2 – 2:00PM STOP ABUSE AT THE START MIDWAY CLASS 1 (1600m): 1RED COBRA, 2 Acceber, 3 Avonview, 4 Sweet Dixie.
Race 3 – 2:35PM NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE F&M BENCHMARK 64 (1100m): 1 CHILLI FILLY, 2 Flying Rani, 3 Smilng Prophet, 4 Mosht Up.
Race 4 – 3:10PM 1800 RESPECT SUPER 3YO MAIDEN (1200m): 1 VOMO ISLAND, 2 Here Comes Hogan, 3 Chief Witness, 4 All Too Zatzo. 
Race 6 – 4:20PM WELCOME KINGSTON INGLIS PROVINCIAL MAIDEN (1100m): 1 FRUITING HABIT, 2 La Pelago, 3 Bojangles, 4 Sidenay.
Race 7 – 4:55PM DIMENSION ONE GLASS FENCING CG&E BENCHMARK 64 (1100m): 1 STENSON WALLMAN, 2 Soobooco, 3 London, 4 Critical Time.
Race 8 – 5:30PM WYONG’S NEXT RACE MEETING WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 13 – MAGIC MILLIONS WYONG BENCHMARK 64 (1350m): 1 KADALL, 2 World Alliance, 3 Calmer Karma, 4 Takara Star. 



TALENTED Wyong apprentice Anna Roper will always remember her maiden home track success. 

The 21-year-old rode the 82nd winner of her blossoming career, not only on her master Damien Lane’s horse Red Cobra, but also in front of a special cheer squad. 

Riding to a plan devised beforehand on the backmarker, Roper got going early to clinch the gelding’s first win in the 1600m FREEMASONS ON THE CENTRAL COAST PROVINCIAL MAIDEN HANDICAP.

At his 14th start and following six minor placings, the Sebring four-year-old broke through after sustaining a determined run from the 700m.

“Anna hadn’t previously ridden a winner at Wyong, and said it was better than winning her first race in town (Lady Redwood at Warwick Farm early last month),” a delighted Lane said.


“She had family at the track to watch her, including her grandparents and a relative visiting from Canada.

“Anna rides Red Cobra work every morning, and really likes him, so it was a pretty special moment for her all round.”

Roper, who rode 42 winners in just under the first four months of last season until an after-race accident at Muswellbrook a year ago sidelined her for seven months, has hit the ground running since resuming her career.

She has ridden 25 winners (equal with Newcastle’s Dylan Gibbons) since August 1, and is only a half-win behind Zac Wadick in the NSW apprentices’ premiership.

A $30,000 yearling purchase, Red Cobra has overcome issues and is now starting to realise his earlier potential.

The manner of his performance suggests this first win won’t be his last.

Red Cobra was too strong over the closing stages for a gallant favorite Razella, who would have given her Hawkesbury trainer Steve O’Halloran the biggest day of his training career had she held out the local.


O’Halloran scored at Goulburn with Feel The Magic, and made it a double when Jaex took the RENTOKIL INITIAL SUPER MAIDEN PLATE (1300m).

The four-year-old daughter of Exosphere joined O’Halloran’s team earlier this year and was placed at her first three starts for him before shedding her maiden status with a win which never really looked in doubt once she took up the running.

Jaex beat local Aix En Provence, who ran on well, and heavily backed favorite Major Look, whose rider Keagan Latham afterwards told RacingNSW stewards the colt was making an abnormal respiratory noise throughout the race.

Whilst a post-race examination did not reveal anything, a veterinary clearance will need to be produced before Major Look can trial or race again.

Lane and The Big Dance winning trainer Sara Ryan kept the Wyong flag flying high with victories at one of the club’s few Saturday meetings of the racing year.

Ryan followed her $2m Big Dance triumph at Royal Randwick last Tuesday with Attractable by taking the opener, the GOSFORD MASONIC CENTRE BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1600m) with Vegas Outlaw (Grant Buckley).

A lightly-raced seven-year-old who is thriving under Ryan’s care, Vegas Outlaw left his rivals with no excuses. He steamrolled his opposition, clearing out in the last 150m to score by nearly five lengths.

Vegas Outlaw has started only 12 times, and has now won two in a row, following on from an easy Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1600m) success at Kembla Grange late last month.


Three-year-old filly Prima Bella (Ash Morgan) got her career off to the best possible start when she won the GARY TURNER MEMORIAL – ABBEY TIMBER 3YO MAIDEN HANDICAP (1000m).

The Per Incanto filly quickly mustered speed to take up the running, gave a good kick in the straight and held on gamely over the concluding stages.

Damien Lane’s All Too Hard filly All Too Zatso came from last at the 600m to gain her first placing from only four starts.

Jockey Deanne Panya pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge on Winning Run (last of eight starters) in this race, and was suspended from November 20 until 25, on which day she can resume riding.

Alysha Collett notched a double on Eau De Vie (PETER MAC’S SERVICE CENTRE CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1350m) and One Destiny (WIDELINE WINDOWS & DOORS BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP, 1100m).

Collett took full advantage of Eau De Vie’s inside draw to give her the run of the race, and she moved up menacingly to join the tearaway leader Chesteray on the home turn.

After hitting the front on straightening, she responded gamely to hold out runner-up Emmadella’s late thrust.

One Destiny completed a successful day for his trainer Gary Nickson by running his rivals off their legs to post his fourth victory.

He never looked seriously threatened at his second run back and coming off a first-up fourth in town on the Kensington track.

Nickson also scored at Rosehill Gardens with Felix Majestic, who has now won three of his last four outings.

Critical Time was resuming for trainer Blake Ryan, and his strong finish into second placing behind One Destiny showed he is close to another win.

Only four horses contested the WYONG LEAGUES GROUP – THE ROOS FOUNDATION MIDWAY HANDICAP (1200m), but it developed into a thrilling two-horse contest.

Favorite Deceive (Keagan Latham) was seriously challenged by Struff (Andrew Calder) in the straight and it was a battle right to the line, with the former just nudging out her game rival.

Deceive did not help her chances by laying out from the 500m and also in the home straight, and stewards delayed posting correct weight to view the patrol films before deciding there were insufficient grounds to lodge a protest on behalf of the runner-up.

Lees unsure with shuri

Lees unsure with shuri 7

THERE is arguably no more interesting acceptor than Shuri for Saturday’s Wyong meeting – but trainer Kris Lees is holding off confirming a start.

The leading Newcastle trainer is tossing up whether to run the impressive Taree debut winner in the Gosford Masonic Centre Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) for her first provincial appearance, or stay in the country for a Benchmark 58 Handicap over the same distance at Scone on Monday.

Andrew Gibbons has been booked for Wyong if Shuri goes there, and his apprentice son Dylan goes aboard if she runs at Scone.

Shuri has 56kg (1kg over the limit) at Wyong, but 60kg staying in a country race if Scone gets the nod.

The beautifully-bred four-year-old mare, a daughter of Japanese stallion Satono Aladdin and New Zealand mare Phoenix Tycoon, didn’t begin racing until October 20 when she outclassed her rivals in a 1400m Maiden by four and a half lengths.

“She beat nothing that day but did it well all the same,” Lees said from Melbourne this afternoon.

“I would expect she can hold her form whichever race she runs in.

“We haven’t made a decision yet where she will go.”

Dylan Gibbons went to Taree to partner Shuri on debut, but has Rosehill Gardens bookings on Saturday, including Regal Lion in the $2m Five Diamonds (1800m).

Lees has two Wyong acceptors, and irrespective of what decision he makes with Shuri, will definitely start Bellascent (Andrew Gibbons) in the Freemasons On The Central Coast Provincial Maiden Handicap (1600m).

He regards the three-year-old filly as a place chance after a nice debut fifth in a Newcastle Provincial Maiden (1300m) against her own age on October 17.

Whilst Lees is uncertain about a target for Shuri, Wyong trainer Damien Lane has confirmed Red Cobra will dodge a 1600m Maiden Handicap at Scone to line up at home in the same race as Bellascent.

Lane’s talented apprentice Anna Roper will claim 3kg, bringing Red Cobra in with 2.5kg under the limit at 53.5kg.

The Sebring four-year-old deserves a change of luck after finishing second (Wyong 1350m), Newcastle 1600m and Grafton 1720m) at his last three starts.

“Red Cobra is racing well and looks to be the best of my chances,” Lane said.

“The only negative might be that he is a get back horse, and thus isn’t necessarily best suited at Wyong.

“But we’re staying at home with him on Saturday, and hopefully we can get a breakthrough.”

Stablemate Zedari (Rentokil Initial Super Maiden Plate, 1300m) won’t run as he is heading to Kempsey for the Cup meeting tomorrow, and Lane says it’s 50-50 whether another of his Wyong acceptors contests the same race or also goes to Kempsey.

Trainers Blake Ryan and Richard Collett have made decisions about their respective dual acceptors Critical Time and Struff.

Critical Time (Christian Reith) will start in the Wideline Windows & Doors Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m) rather than the Wyong Leagues Group – The Roos Foundation Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m), and Ryan has opted to run him minus visors.

Struff (Andrew Calder) contets the race Critical Time has been withdrawn from, and bypasses the Peter Mac’s Service Centre Class 1 Handicap (1350m).

A lightly-raced daughter of Winning Rupert, Struff hasn’t missed a placing in five starts to date.

She finally shed her maiden status at her last run, in a 1300m Maiden at Hawkesbury on October 19.

. The rail is in the TRUE position, and racing gets underway at 1.20pm.

SELECTIONS: RACE 1 – 1.20pm: GOSFORD MASONIC CENTRE BENCHMARK 64 HCP, 1600m: 1 SHURI, 2 Oakfield Twilight, 3 Vegas Outlaw, 4 Statesville. 

RACE 2 – 1.55pm: GARY TURNER MEMORIAL – ABBEY TIMBER 3YO MAIDEN HCP, 1000m: 1 PRIMA BELLA, 2 Winning Run, 3 Angel Of Spring, 4 Slush Fund. 

RACE 3 – 2.35pm: WYONG LEAGUES CLUB GROUP – THE ROOS FOUNDATION MINDWAY CLASS 1 HCP, 1200m: 1 DECEIVE, 2 Struff, 3 Parisian Rose, 4 Estephania.

RACE 4 – 3.15pm: PETER MAC’S SERVICE CENTRE CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1350m: 1 EAU DE VIE, 2 Imran, 3 Always In, 4 Happy Saturday.

RACE 5 – 3.55pm: FREEMASONS ON THE CENTRAL COAST MAIDEN HCP, 1600m: 1 RED COBRA, 2 Seasons Of Mist, 3 Bellascent, 4 Razella. 

RACE 6 – 4.35pm: RENTOKIL INITIAL SUPER MAIDEN PLATE, 1300m: 1 JAEX, 2 Aix En Provence, 3 Prairie Legend, 4 Major Look.

RACE 7 – 5.06pm: WIDELINE WINDOWS & DOORS BENCHMARK 64 HCP, 1100m: 1 IRON HAT, 2 One Destiny, 3 One Kind, 4 Pad Thai.



Dark Halo could be the horse to follow from Wyong’s GO Electrical Race Day following an impressive debut over 1100m. 

The flashy son of Zoustar hit the ground running in the OMNI – HAGER – CABAC CG&E MAIDEN and despite maintaining a high cruising speed, was able to quicken in the straight and win by four lengths.

The $280k Magic Millions yearling had won his previous two trials for the Maher/Eustace stable, the latest at Rosehill by almost 10 lengths. 

But he wasn’t without fault, stable representative Liam Ruddy describing Dark Halo ($2.25fav) as a “work in progress.”

“He’s been scratched at the barriers a few times, so it was good to see him stand there and do everything properly today. He’s here now and it was a really nice debut. Off the back of that you couldn’t be anything but excited.”

Dark Halo’s win brought up a double for Maher/Eustace and Jason Collett, with Costa Smeralda scoring earlier in the day. 


It was a family affair in the 2100m SAL – MATCHMASTER – OMEGA POWER BM64, father and daughter Richard and Alysha Collett combining for victory with Whetu.

The late money was spot on for the Dundeel six-year-old who was backed in from $3.80 to $2.50. 

He put paid to his opposition in the final stages, romping home by over eight lengths, to bring up his 4th career win. 

“I probably slaughtered him last start, so I’m surprised I got back on,” Collett laughed. “There were five leaders in the race today and that worked out well. I was able to keep him in his rhythm, keep him in the open and go through the gears.”


The family connection continued in the HANECO F&M MAIDEN with Jason Collett piloting Maher Eustace’s well bred filly Costa Smeralda ($3.50) to victory. 

There had been plenty of confidence from both the stable and Collett, who trialled the Exceed and Excel filly, that she would perform well on debut. 

She didn’t disappoint winning the1100m race by a length after showing plenty of early speed. 

“It’s good when a filly has got natural gate speed and takes luck out the equation,”  Liam Ruddy said. “She quickened nicely in the straight, giving the impression she might do something as the spring continues.”


It may have taken Kris Lees’ Satirical Fan eight starts to break his maiden, but he certainly did it in great fashion, winning the ROBUS LIGHTING – HPM LEGRAND – ELECTRA CABLES PROVINCIAL 4YO & UP MAIDEN over 1600m by almost nine lengths. 

Dylan Gibbons gave the So You Think gelding the perfect front running ride and was able to slip away in the straight for a very dominant win.

“He was beaten by a good horse last start, so we were confident today,” Danny Greer, representing the Lees stable, said. “I’d like to think he will go on improving as he steps up in distance.”


It was a race-to-race Lees/Gibbons double when consistent gelding Oakfield Prince ($2.05fav) took out the PSA – THORNE LIGHTING – APP BM64 over 1600m.

The So You Think six-year-old, raced by Bruce McKenzie, had been runner-up at his past two starts, but atoned for the losses with a three-length win. 

“It’s onwards and upwards for him now,” Gibbons said. “It’s a good sign when they can put them away like he did today.”

Mark Cross’s locally trained Sian ($7) stormed home to finish third.  


Gerald Ryan described the win by his All Too Hard gelding Let’s Try ($3.10) in the 1350m SCHNEIDER SUPER MAIDEN as “well deserved.”

The four-year-old brought up his first win at start six, with Brandon Lerena in the saddle.  

“He’s come a long way this time in,” Ryan said. “He did heaps wrong early but this time around after a nice spell, he’s much more settled and manageable. Brandon rated him good today. He’s no star but will win a couple more races.”

Damien Lane’s Red Cobra, the $101 outsider of the field, flashed home for second. 


Tim Clark made a successful return to Wyong at just his second meeting back after suffering an injury on Cup Day. 

Clark rode the David Pfieffer trained Beneficio ($8) to victory in the 1100m SHARKRACK – IPD – EMERALD LIGHTING BM64.

The Magnus mare was having only her second start for the stable having previously raced in Victoria and brought up her second career win. 

“It’s good to be back and in the winner’s stall,” Clark said. “This mare filled me with confidence in the run that she’d be in the finish a long way out. She fought it out really well.”

Kristen Buchanan’s Big Happiness could be in for a good preparation after finishing third, just a length behind the winner. 


A long shot winner in the last, the 1350m KLEIN TOOLS – EVOLT – PRYSMIAN – BRILLIANT MIDWAY BM64 with Brett Lazzarini’s Mancconi ($37) upsetting the more favoured riders with Brock Ryan in the saddle. 

There were some nervous moments for Lazzarini after a truck accident on the freeway delayed their arrival. 

“I didn’t think we were going to get here at one stage, but we made it. He’s no world beater this horse but every time you put him down, he does his best. My wife owns 80% so it keeps her happy, “he laughed. 



HOME is where the heart is!

Wyong trainer Damien Lane’s local track was his most successful last season, and with 23 wins, isn’t far behind Taree (27) as the winningest overall during his career.

And he takes a bevy of runners to home turf tomorrow, keen to make a further impact.

Lane has seven acceptors on the eight-race program, but is settling for five runners.

He has ruled out starting Oakfield Echidna in the Omni – Hager – Cabac CG&E Maiden Handicap (1100m) and Impact Star (Sharkrack – IPD – Emerald Lighting Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1100m) because of wide barriers.

Oakfield Echidna instead will make his debut at Muswellbrook on Monday, whilst Impact Star heads to Dubbo on Friday.

With the latter a Wyong absentee, Lane will rely on Tidal Impact (pictured) in the Benchmark 64 and is looking forward to wiping the slate from an unsuccessful three-start campaign earlier in the year.

“It was a forget preparation,” he said. “She just didn’t come up, and that can sometimes happen with mares. 

“But I’m really pleased with how she is shaping this time in work.

“Jenny Duggan rides her tomorrow, and never had her off the bit when she was a close second in a 1000m Wyong trial on September 18.

“Tidal Impact won twice first-up earlier in her career, and will give them something to catch.

“I’m expecting her to run well.”

Whilst Duggan, who will have her first Group 1 ride in Saturday’s The Metropolitan at Royal Randwick, partners Tidal Impact, Lane’s apprentice Anna Roper has the mounts on three of his other four runners.

They are La Pelago (Haneco F&M Maiden Handicap, 1100m), Glendenning (Robus Lighting – HPM LeGrand – Electra Cables Provincial 4YO & Up Maiden Plate, 1600m), and Red Cobra (Schneider Super Maiden Plate, 1350m).

Adam Hyeronimus rides Oakfield Twilight in the Klein Tools – Evolt – Prysmian – Brilliant Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m).

Roper has ridden 13 winners already this season, including a Taree success last Sunday and double on the Beaumont track yesterday, and Lane is delighted with her progress since returning from a long lay-off through injury and joining his stable.

“Anna was out for nine months, and it takes time to get going,” he said. “She is very focused, and is really starting to hit her straps again.

“Glendenning and Red Cobra both have 59kg in the set weights events, so her 3kg claim will be very helpful.”

Lane resumes the lightly-raced La Pelago after the Star Turn three-year-old had two unplaced runs last season.

“She showed enough ability, but was a big heavy two-year-old and wasn’t ready,” he explained.

“This isn’t an easy race, but she trialled nicely when a winner at Wyong last week, and it’s a good starting point for her.

“Glendenning has been thereabouts, and I thought his latest run when placed at Coffs Harbour was good.

“He is fit, has drawn nicely enough and can run well again although he has struck a decent field here.

“Red Cobra has taken improvement from his first-up fourth at Muswellbrook when he made nice ground.

“He is at big odds, but I feel has a better chance than his price suggests.

“Oakfield Twilight will run in spite of his awkward draw.  

“He won a Midway Benchmark 68 over this distance earlier in the year, and had a couple of runs at the Sunshine Coast and Murwillumbah in August when transferred to a Queensland trainer.

“His first run at the Sunshine Coast was good, and is back with me now.

“He lives out at our farm, and loves life at home.

“Oakfield Twilight is a naturally fast horse, and will need to be at his best to feature in another open affair.”

. The rail is in the TRUE position, and racing gets underway at 1.05pm.


Race 1 – 1.05pm: SAL – MATCHMASTER – OMEGA POWER BENCHMARK 64 HCP (2100): 1 DREAMDEEL, 2 Microna, 3 Myeyesadoreyou, 4 Frank Express.

Race 2 – 1.40pm: HANECO F&M MAIDEN HCP (1100m): 1 PAJANTI, 2 Costa Smerelda, 3 Miss Bayles, 4 Belyaev. 

Race 3 – 2.20pm:  ROBUS LIGHTING – HPM LEGRAND – ELECTRA CABLES PROVINCIAL 4YO & UP MAIDEN PLATE (1600m): 1 SATIRICAL FAN, 2 Daytona Gal, 3 Hellbetta, 4 Glendenning.

Race 4 – 2.55pm: PSA – THORNE LIGHTING – APP BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1600m): 1 MORITZ GIRL, 2 Oakfield Prince, 3 The Seven Seas, 4 Domingo. 

Race 5 – 3.35pm: OMNI – HAGER – CABAC CG&E MAIDEN HCP (1100m): 1 DARK HALO, Keenan, 2 Rhesus, 4 Battle Of Vienna.

Race 6 – 4.10pm: SCHNEIDER SUPER MAIDEN PLATE (1350m): 1 WILD FLASH, 2 Worth Avenue, 3 Let’s Try, 4 Cape Byron.

Race 7 – 4.50pm: SHARKRACK – IPD – EMERALD LIGHTING BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1100m): 1 CARDONE, 2 Big Happiness, 3 Tidal Impact, 4 Solar System.

Race 8 – 5.25pm: KLEIN TOOLS – EVOLT – PRYSMIAN – BRILLIANT MIDWAY BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1350m): 1 WRITE THIS WAY, 2 Oh Golly Gosh, 3 Egyptian Tycoon, 4 Oakfield Twilight.



Like his famous namesake the John O’Shea trained Benaud has written himself into the record books claiming the 2023 Listed Carlton Wyong Gold Cup. 

And it was rising star Dylan Gibbons who rode the five-year-old to victory giving the son of Reliable Man his first black type win. 

The Cup was marred by a dramatic mid-race fall around the 800m, with front runner The Mediterranean faltering causing a ricochet effect, which resulted in three jockeys being dislodged and six runners pulled out of the race. 

Fortunately, riders Regan Bayliss, Tim Clark and Brett Prebble escaped serious injuries. 

Gibbons had settled Benaud mid field and was able to avoid the trouble caused by the fall, storming down the outside in the straight to claim victory from fellow grey and race favorite Bois D’Argent. 

The win was the result of a well thought out plan by O’Shea, who took Benaud to Wyong for a 2100m Class 1 in July, hoping for a confidence boosting win and run on the track.

The plan worked with the gelding posting a six-length victory, before returning to Wyong after a failed run in the Grafton Cup and freshen up, to claim the club’s biggest prize.

“He’s been going good and had a lovely draw to get an economical run in the race. He was well weighted, and we thought it was a great opportunity for him” 

While the win was only the third for Benaud, he has had three previous Group placings to his name, including a second to Hitotsu in the G1 ATC Australian Derby. 

It’s O’Shea’s second Wyong Cup win in as many years after claiming victory in 2021 with another grey Berdibek.

The Annabel Neasham pair Bois D’Argent ($4.60fav) and Spirit Ridge ($13) filled the minor placings.


O’Shea’s victory in the Cup atoned for a second in the day’s other feature the Mona Lisa, where he trained runner-up Sanstoc.

The Mona Lisa can turn up a long shot and this year was no exception with Peter and Paul Snowden’s Mirra View taking out the $200k Listed race returning $26. 

The More Than Ready five-year-old was given the perfect ride by Chad Schofield, who came from midfield with a sustained run in the straight to grab victory. 

In a huge result for the Snowden’s the well supported Wollombi finished third, behind Sanstoc ($21), who protested unsuccessfully against the winner. 

A delighted Peter Snowden described Mirra View as a “very genuine, honest filly.”

“This is the level she’s been looking for and it’s great to see her get black type to her name. She’s been the victim of too good a barrier in the past but today it worked out beautifully from the gate and they went quick enough for her to get back and go through her revs.

“Chad got her out in plenty of time and it was good to see her get the job done. The owners are great supporters of the stable and I’m very happy for them.”  

Snowden said he was also thrilled with the performance of the well supported Wollombi ($4.40), who despite being caught wide throughout finished third.


 It was an effortless win by the Godolphin trained Balkans ($2.70) to take out the inaugural running of the $60,000 Super Maiden over 1200m.

Zac Lloyd box seated on the Lonhro colt before angling him to the outside in the final stages steering him to an easy victory.

It was a pickup ride for Lloyd, replacing the injured McDonald.  

Darren Beadman said they had expected the three-year-old colt to race well. 

“He’s a lovely horse, a big scoping horse and we expected him to get around Wyong pretty well. He had no luck at Canterbury on debut, but it taught him to race and laid a nice foundation for this race.”


Clarry Conners Peace Officer ($3.50) was a dominant winner of the 1300m Da Vinci 3&4YO BM64, but all eyes were on champion jockey James McDonald who fell at the start. 

Godolphin’s $1.70 favorite Razors appeared to blunder after jumping, sending McDonald into the turf, the champion jockey suffering a foot injury and being stood down for the rest of the meeting. 

Kris Lees looked to have another race in the bag when Memoria ($5) kicked in the straight, but Nash Rawiller had other ideas, coming from behind to run down the winner and post an easy win on the line. 

The four-year-old is putting together a strong resume with two wins and three placings from his nine starts. 


Lees had started the day well with a quinella in the first, Blackcomb ($4.20) overhauling stable mate and $3 favorite Oakfield Prince on the line in the 1600m BM64.

The five-year-old daughter of Vancouver, having her first start for the stable, came from behind in the straight in a well-timed ride by Dylan Gibbons, the first leg of a winning double.


It was no surprise for trainer Brett Lazzarini when his gelding Bonus Tempus beat some of the more favored runners in the 1350m 4YO & Up Maiden.

The Impending four-year-old appreciated a step up in distance and Lazzarini believes there’s more improvement to come. 

“He still wants more ground, but I thought he could be there when the whips were cracking today,” he said. 


Brad Widdup was thrilled with the win of his consistent mare Jedibeel ($2.80fav) who was given a super, rails run by Jean Van Overmeire to win the 1100m Class 1.  

Widdup said Van Overmeire had defied his one instruction. 

“I told him not to go to the fence and he did,” Widdup laughed. “It worked out that way and he had too, but he got the job done. She’s still learning. 

“She’s run against a couple smart horses where she’s done a lot wrong. Today she did a lot right and it was a terrific effort.”

Runner up The King ($4) will have plenty of improvement to come, while Los Padres ($16) put in an eye-catching run for third. 


Keagan Latham brought up a double in the last riding Michael Freedman’s $2.10 favorite Flying Destiny to victory. 

Darby Racing’s Flying Artie four-year-old made it back-to-back wins after a last start victory at Hawkesbury. 


A third placing to Tyler Schiller saw him draw equal with Adam Hyeronimus to tie for the Nathan Berry Shield. Tommy Berry and his family were on track to present the prestigious shield.



In just 12 months Sara Ryan has forged a name for herself in racing and this Friday she could go down in history by adding a Carlton Wyong Gold Cup to her growing resume.

At just 29, Ryan would become the youngest trainer to claim the prestigious Cup and the first local to do so in many years. 

Irish import The Mediterranean and Group 3 winner Parry Sound line up for Ryan in the capacity field of 16. 

“They are both going really well, and either is capable of winning the race,” Ryan said. 

“To win a Wyong Cup would mean so much to me, it would be fantastic. We want the Cup to stay in Wyong.”

Ryan said she has always had a very big opinion of The Mediterranean, who was placed third in the Listed Winter Cup over 2400m at Rosehill in June. 

“He’s a very interesting horse. He had very good form overseas but needed a wind operation when he came over here. 

“It has taken ages to get him right and then when he came back from Queensland, he got travel sickness and needed a break.”

Ryan said she decided to take the Wyong and Newcastle Cup paths to see where he would progress. 

“He’s a naturally fit horse and can retain that fitness. He’ll have to do a bit of work early from the barrier but will roll forward.”

Ryan has booked Reagan Bayliss for the ride and said he galloped both The Mediterranean and Parry Sound on Tuesday and was happy with them both. 

Parry sound had been second emergency and Ryan was sweating on him getting a run. 

“I’m really happy Parry Sound got a run because he’s absolutely flying. He was first up in the Rowley Mile and his stats indicate it’s the best he’s ever come back. 

“He gets back so the barrier doesn’t really matter and I’m hoping to engage a senior rider.”

Ryan will have to contend with one of the strongest Cup fields in recent years to see her dream come true. 

A full field of 16 runners have accepted with two emergencies. Chris Waller has three starters as he vies for his ninth Wyong Cup winner in 12 years.

Kris Lees saddles up the early favourite Kalapour, who took out the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben in May. 

Waller’s Olentia, a Group 3 winner in the autumn, is favourite for the Mona Lisa, the $200k Listed racing attracting a strong field of 15. 

Damien Lane saddles up local hope Zorocat.

The Nathan Berry Medal for the leading rider over the two days will be decided following Cup Day, with Adam Hyeronimus the current leader on 11, over Tyler Schiller on 10 and Jean Van Overmeire on seven. 

Nathan’s twin brother Tommy will be on course to present the medal. 

The first of eight races gets underway at 12.45pm. 


Race 1 – 12.45pm: SENPOS POINT OF SALE PROVINCIAL BM64 (1600m): 1 BROADWAY BOUNCER, 2 Silvakia, 3 Oakfield Prince, 4 Blackcomb.

Race 2 – 1.20pm: WISEBERRY HERITAGE GROUP MIDWAY 4YO&UP MAIDEN (1350m): 1 MONOPOLY GIRL, 2 Drialle, 3 Bold Storm, 4 Miss Artfire. 

Race 3 – 1.55pm: HUNTER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS CLASS 1 (1100m): 1 BETSY’S FLAG, 2 Capital Flag, 3 Jedibeel, 4 Tawfiq Star.

Race 4 – 2.35pm: CENTRAL COAST COOLROOMS DA VINCI – 3&4YO BM64 (1300m): 1 RAZORS, 2 Memoria, 3 Peace Officer, 4 Mercury Rose. 

Race 5 – 3.10pm: BISHOP COLLINS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS SUPER MAIDEN (1200m): 1 BALKANS, 2 Cape Byron, 3 Bolero Belle, 4 Xidaki.

Race 6 – 3.50pm: WYONG LEAGUES GROUP MONA LISA STAKES (1350m): 1 VA VIA, 2 Olentia, 3 Beour Bay, 4 Diamond Dealer. 

Race 7 – 4.25pm: 2023 CARLTON WYONG GOLD CUP (2100m): 1 HOSIER, 2 Kalapour, 3 Spirit Ridge, 4 Military Mission. 

Race 8 – 5.05pm: THE DOYLO SPRINGTIME CONDITIONAL BM68 (1100m): 1 FLYING DESTINY, 2 Chipper, 3 De Poet, 4 Major Murphy.



It surely had to be an obvious tip!

How fitting that today’s feature race on our opening day of the Cup carnival should be won by a local – and on Ladies’ Day to boot!

Denim Wynen landed the Johnnie Roberts Memorial, named after the popular Wyong trainer who passed away in May 2020 after battling cancer, with her underrated mare Obvious Step ($6.50).

Ridden by Ashley Morgan, who scored on Newcastle sprinter Hard To Say in the Doomben opener yesterday, the six-year-old mare overcame a slow getaway and a troublesome run in the straight to prevail in a tight finish to the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m).

Wynen has now won three races with Obvious Step, who began her career in Sydney and also was a thrice winner for her original trainer David Payne.

She dually accepted with Obvious Step, and pulled the right rein in withdrawing her from the Magic Millions Racing Women Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m) against her own sex to stay at the shorter distance.

An overweight Morgan forfeited his two other bookings at the meeting, and was fined $100 by Racing NSW stewards.

Jockey Adam Hyeronimus made the most of a late pick-up mount to take the riding honours with a treble.

Hyeronimus won the first two races on Solar System and Global before replacing an overweight Aaron Bullock on local mare Oakfield Redgum in the sixth race, and was rewarded with the easiest of his three successes.

Bullock had four mounts at the meeting, and did not ride. Stewards will interview him about being overweight at a date to be fixed.


There was also a nice reward for Wyong trainer Damien Lane, who celebrated his birthday by winning with Oakfield Redgum.

Hyeronimus had Oakfield Redgum away smartly, and she never gave him – nor her backers – the slightest cause for concern, romping away in the straight to score by more than five lengths.

A plunge on debutante Countyourblessings went astray in the opening event, The Agency 3YO Maiden Plate (1200m).

Backed from odds against to start a dominant $1.80 favorite, the I Am Invincible filly, a $250,000 Magic Millions yearling buy at the Gold Coast last year, couldn’t overhaul another MM purchase SOLAR SYSTEM ($4.60), who cost more at $530,000.

The winner, a member of the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott team, quickly gathered pace after jumping, took up the running on the rails and gave plenty to maintain a good break in the straight all the way to the post.

Countyourblessings was inclined to veer to the centre of the track over the last 100m, and never looked likely to reach the winner, but no doubt will take improvement from her first start.

Winning rider Adam Hyeronimus considers SOLAR SYSTEM is trending in the right direction after the Deep Field gelding had finished third at Wyong on August 3 when making his debut.

“He has improved every time he has been to the trials and races, and was good today,” Hyeronimus said.

Yarraville ($41), another making her debut, though beaten clearly, finished well to grab third placing, just ahead of Kristen Buchanan’s Team America ($14).

Sydney trainer Joe Pride was both delighted and relieved to see GLOBAL EMPIRE ($1.95 favorite) shed his maiden status in the Care 2 The Max 4YO&Up Maiden Handicap (1100m).

“He has been a bit frustrating, but has been slow maturing,” Pride said.

“That’s not to say he won’t get to where we hope he will, and it was good to see him do that today.”

Jockey Adam Hyeronimus, who clinched a double in the open two races, said “it was a good strong win”.

“He travelled nice and strong, and stretched out nicely when I asked him to go after straightening.”

Having his seventh start (he had been placed four times), GLOBAL EMPIRE didn’t have things his own way, being pressured by both Rinzai (4th) and KongKong Harmony (last) up front.

He shook them off making the home turn, and was never threatened thereafter in defeating Let’s Try ($6.50) by two and a half lengths, with a further one and a half lengths to third placegetter, Louise Munce’s Ranhita ($18).

GLOBAL EMPIRE trialled six times, starting early last year, before making his debut when placed later that year at Hawkesbury in October over 1000m behind the talented and subsequent Listed winner Red Card.


THE third leader in a row won when Sara Ryan struck a blow for Wyong trainers with lightly-raced FRANK EXPRESS ($15).

Sydney’s champion apprentice Zac Lloyd, at his first ride returning from a suspension, bounced straight back to the winning list, leading throughout in the Iris Foundation Benchmark 68 Handicap (2100m).

A four-year-old son of European champion Frankel, FRANK EXPRESS made it two victories on end, following a 1600m breakthrough in a Newcastle Midway Maiden on August 10.

“I always thought he would get a middle distance,” Ryan said afterwards.

“Zac rode him a treat, getting away with cheap sectionals around the back.”

FRANK EXPRESS was having only his fifth start and beat a game Mr Bond ($5), who lost his off fore plate in running and showed a return to form.

Hat-trick seeker Vincenzo ($3.60), who fluffed the start by jumping in the air when the gates opened, and cost himself any chance of achieving that.

Disappointment of the race was another recent Newcastle winner Bulbarrow ($3.10 favorite). He was also chasing a hat-trick, but was under pressure on the home turn and dropped out to finish last of the eight runners.

A subsequent veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

JOCKEY Jean Van Overmeire continued his brilliant start to the new season, clinching his 16th winner on Hawkesbury mare SACRED GIRL ($11) in the Robson Civil Projects Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m).

Such has been his form that he shares the lead in the NSW premiership with Sydney’s champion jockey James McDonald.

Van Overmeire gave the Sacred Falls mare, a $65,000 New Zealand buy two years ago, a perfect run behind fellow Hawkesbury representative Mr Papera, a well-backed $2.35 favorite, and finished best to beat him narrowly.

He had the mare away quickly at the jump and then took a trail behind Mr Papera, who had worked across from his outside barrier to take up the running, but lost his near fore plate during the race. 

Tracey Bartley’s Stanczyk ($2.50) was given every chance and wound up a close third.

SACRED GIRL had five trials without racing for a leading Sydney stable, and has now raced four times since being transferred to leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup.

“I’m really happy she won for Tricolours Racing and a large group of owners,” Widdup said.

“She has shown enough ability to win a race, but has been a bit laidback in her races.

“I tried blinkers, but they didn’t work, so we put a nose roll on her today, and we were able to ride her more positively, and she did the job for us.”

Four-year-old mare KINGSTON CHARM ($4.40) has a real affinity with Wyong as her jockey Tyler Schiller pointed out after her win in the ODA Advisory Class 1 Handicap (1600m).

“She seems to like the track as both her wins have been here,” Schiller said.

“KINGSTON CHARM won her Maiden earlier in July when Reece Jones rode her.”

Schiller had the mount on the daughter of Exosphere for the first time at her last run when third in a Class 1 Handicap (1600m) at Hawkesbury on August 8.

“She isn’t a mare you can bustle, so I was happy to be patient on her and she travelled comfortably throughout,” he said.

“I thought she put them away pretty comfortably too.”

Once Schiller got a gap on KINGSTON CHARM in the straight, she dashed quickly and was too good for Golden Passport ($4) and roughie Muckabout ($51).

Forget the $2.90 favorite Rise To It’s defeat. He had no luck at all in the run, was widest on the home turn and kept battling right to the post to just miss third placing. He can soon make amends for hat defeat.

WYONG trainer Damien Lane celebrated a birthday with a winner – and there was never any doubt about it.

He was confident beforehand OAKFIELD REDGUM ($2.60 favorite) could do the job in the Magic Millions Racing Women F&M Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m, and didn’t have a moment’s worry.

With Aaron Bullock an absentee, Adam Hyeronimus was the replacement rider and rode the easiest of his three winners at the meeting.

Hyeronimus quickly had OAKFIELD REDGUM into stride and she travelled smoothly in front.

It was obvious on the home turn that the five-year-old daughter of Dundeel was going to be hard to run down.

She scored by more than five lengths from Lyrical Lady ($11), who ran on gamely, and Tornado Light ($31) was third.

OAKLFIELD REDGUM was Lane’s second winner of the season (All Too Sneaky was his first at Dubbo on August 13, and he has also had five minor placings).

“The map looked really good for her today,” he said. “She is better if she can find the front and get a couple of cheap sectionals, then roll along from the 500m.

“OAKFIELD REDGUM Is better ridden that way rather than sit and sprint, also likes soft ground.

“Whilst she hasn’t won out of turn, she has matured into a nice mare and seems to be putting it all together.”

Jockey Ashley Morgan has had a busy weekend – but well worth it.

He won the opening race at Doomben yesterday on Newcastle-trained Hard To Say, and landed the Johnnie Roberts Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m) here on local OBVIOUS STEP ($6.50), who was slow to jump and didn’t have the clearest of passages either in the straight.

Morgan eventually got her around the heels of $2.90 favorite Rockabilly Rebel, and she drove hard to take the major prize.

In a close finish where any of several horses could have won in the closing stages, OBVIOUS STEP got there in time to edge out Rockabilly Rebel and $41 roughie She’s Independent, who made the running.

Well-backed Lady Shenanigans ($4.40) was a close fourth.


Wyong trainer Denim Wynen has done a terrific job with OBVIOUS STEP since taking over her preparation last year.

She has won three races with the daughter of Sidestep, who has also been placed on seven occasions in her care.

WRITTEN Tycoon three-year-old QUEEN OF THE MILE made it two wins from three starts since joining the Michael Freedman stable, and could not have been more impressive in doing so.

Ridden by Tom Sherry, QUEEN OF THE MILE ($4) was resuming, having also easily won the Gold Nugget 2YO Handicap (1100m) at Bathurst in April.

She loomed up menacingly to tackle front-runner Nonshalant ($7.50), and swept away to beat her convincingly.

The $26 outsider Proud Image was third, with Allan Kehoe’s $3.70 favorite One Kind fourth after appearing to have every chance.

A $180,000 Magic Millions yearling buy last year, Queen Of The Mile looks destined to make the grade in town.

Once You Were ($6.50) ran fifth, but had absolutely no luck in the straight, and is worth another chance next time out.


IT’S no joke!


Hawkesbury husband and wife training partners Mitch and Desiree Kearney have been winless since the couple’s bargain buy Lady Shenanigans was first home at Taree’s April Fool’s Day meeting on April 1.

But they haven’t lost confidence and believe their frustrating drought can be broken with the same horse at Wyong’sopening day of the Gold Cup carnival on Sunday.

The booking of Sydney’s champion apprentice Zac Lloyd for Lady Shenanigans in the Johnnie Roberts Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m), named in honour of the late popular Wyong trainer, has boosted their confidence.

Placed four times since that Taree victory, the six-year-old gelding has drawn nicely (barrier two in a field of 10) and the forecast of some more rain – Wyong is currently a “Soft 6” – was music to Team Kearney’s ears.

“Lady Shenanigans is rock-hard fit; we’ve never had him any more ready,” Desiree Kearney said.

“I’m confident he can get us back into the winning list.

“Mitch rang Zac’s father Jeff, who manages his bookings, and he took the ride straight away.

“It’s been a tough time over the last few months, and we’ve had a good cleanout of our stable.

“You get attached to horses, and thus it is never easy to move them on.

“But we have culled five in the last six weeks as they weren’t performing, and we’re down to eight horses.

“Lady Shenanigans can give us a real boost by winning on Sunday.”

There is no doubt the Zoustar gelding has been a wonderful performer for the popular couple’s stable – and they own him themselves.

Ever on the lookout for an online bargain, Desiree Kearney found the then unraced and unusually-named Lady Shenanigans at an April 2021 sale, and bought him for $1750 after he had fetched $300,000 as a Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling in 2019.

The Kearneys have won five races (along with 12 placings) with Lady Shenanigans, who has earned just over $153,000prizemoney.

His wet track prowess is such that all his wins have been on wet ground; three on soft tracks and two on heavy surfaces.

Whilst he isn’t racing at Wyong, Team Kearney is keeping fingers crossed multiple city winner Heza Gentleman can make a successful comeback.

The now seven-year-old, who gave the couple a memorable city breakthrough at Warwick Farm in August 2020 and was the star of the Canterbury night session in late 2021 by winning three races on the bounce, has been sidelined since June last year after fracturing a sesamoid.

“Heza Gentleman is back at the stable, and walking and swimming,” Desiree Kearney said.

“We will gradually step up his program and then get him x-rayed again.

“Whilst we’re hopeful we can get him back to the races, we will stop straight away if he shows any sign that he isn’t going to make it.”

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Fabio Martino also has a good opportunity for a provincial breakthrough, with the consistent Mr Papera (Alysha Collett), in the Robson Civil Projects Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m).

The Winning Rupert five-year-old has been placed at both starts since resuming, at Newcastle over 1400m and 1600m on July 29 and August 10 respectively, when also ridden by Collett.

One of provincial racing’s newest trainers, Martino clinched his first and only success to date, with Eliseo at Canberra in November last year.

Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has pulled the plug on a Doomben start on Saturday with Ventura Ocean, who instead will be a rival in Lady Shenanigans’ race.’

Ventura Ocean drew poorly in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1350m) in Brisbane, and stable apprentice Ben Osmond, who won on Cheerful Legend midweek on the Kensington track, claims 3kg to lessen the gelding’s 63kg impost.

Experienced Northern Rivers jockey Raymond Spokes will make a rare visit to the provincials to continue a successful association with Wyong trainer Allan Kehoe’s promising filly One Kind in the CBWN Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m).

Spokes has partnered the lightly-raced Sebring Sun three-year-old’s three wins to date; the latest in a Class 2 Handicap (1000m) at Tuncurry on August 11 when resuming.

The eight-race program begins at 12.30pm, and the rail is out 3m for the entire circuit.


RACE 1: THE AGENCY 3YO MAIDEN PLATE, 1200m: 1 DUCASSE, 2 Solar System, 3 Capzinzi, 4 Countyourblessings

RACE 2: CARE 2 THR MAX 4YO&UP MAIDEN HCP, 1100m: 1 GLOBAL EMPIRE, 2 Wonder Missile, 3 Separatist, 4 Hong Kong Harmony

RACE 3: IRIS FOUNDATION BENCHMARK 68 HCP, 2100m: 1 BULLBARROW, 2 Vincenzo, 3 Mr Bond, 4 Piraeus

RACE 4: ROBSON CIVIL PROJECTS PROVINCIAL MAIDEN PLATE, 1600m: 1 MR PAPERA, 2 Satirical Fan, 3 Stanczyk, 4 Sacred Girl

RACE 5: ODA ADVISORY CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1600m:1 GOLDEN PASSPORT, 2 Rise To It, 3 Kingston Charm, 4 Skylon

RACE 6: MAGIC MILLIONS RACING WOMEN F&M BENCHMARK 68 HCP, 1600m: 1 SHOWSUMGRIT, 2 Blackcomb, 3 Obvious Step, 4 Oakfield Redgum

RACE 7: JOHNNIE ROBERTS MEMORIAL BENCHMARK 64 HCP, 1350m: 1 LADY SHENANIGANS, 2 Ventura Ocean, 3 Rockabilly Rebel, 4 Princess Amira

RACE 8: CBWN MIDWAY BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP, 1000m: 1 ONE KIND, 2 Major Murphy, 3 Cable Tie, 4 Queen Of The Mile