GROUP 1 winning trainer Nick Olive was based at Canberra the last time he had a runner at Wyong.
And whilst he has since shifted camp to Queanbeyan, he is hoping for a similar result tomorrow with his first starter at the Provincial track in nearly two and a half years.
The pacy Proud Mia (now retired) was Olive’s last Wyong representative when she led throughout, with apprentice Tyler Schiller on board, in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m) on January 24, 2021.
He won’t be relying on speed this time when Invincible Dash lines up in a similar Benchmark 64, but over 1600m, in the Clubs NSW Central Coast Region sponsored event.
Olive began training at Canberra with a few horses in 2000 before setting up his own stabling operation in 2005, and was there until last spring when, tired of the ACT Government’s apparent lack of interest in the industry along with burgeoning workers’ compensation costs, upped stumps and moved to Queanbeyan.
“We have settled in well; I’m glad I made the move,” Olive said last night.
“I’m looking forward to having another runner at Wyong.
“Whilst I haven’t had many starters there over the years, I did have a few who ran in the Magic Millions races there leading up to the big meeting at the Gold Coast.”
One of those was Single Gaze, who ran a close third to Zoutenant in the 2014 Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1100m) at only her second start, before finishing third in the Gold Coast MM Classic (1200m) the following month.
Single Gaze on debut had beaten six rivals to land a 2YO Plate (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 1, 2014 when an $81 rank outsider.
The bonny mare at the same track the following season presented her trainer with a Group 1 breakthrough in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m), and was runner-up no less than six times in Group 1 and 2 features, including the 2017 Caulfield Cup.
Connections parted company with the mare to Japanese breeding interests in 2018 when they were made an offer too good to refuse.
Olive celebrated his transfer to Queanbeyan by landing the Cup (2000m) there last November with Invincible Dash, and got a pleasant surprise when he scored first-up with 60.5kg in a 1200m Handicap at Parkes on May 14.
“He had been working well, but had never won first-up before and obviously the distance was short of his best,” Olive said.
“I’m really happy with how he has progressed since, and the 1600m at Wyong is more to his liking.
“We’re going from country to provincial company, but if he gets the race run to suit, he can definitely be competitive.”
Invincible Dash was a $170,000 yearling purchase in 2018 and was a member of a leading Sydney stable before joining Olive’s team in late 2020.
He is planning to chase further country Cups with the gelding this preparation, but feels the $3m The Big Dance (1600m) at Royal Randwick in November might be beyond his limit.
The I Am Invincible six-year-old ran 11th in last year’s $500,000 The Little Dance (1600m) on the same program before winning the Queanbeyan Cup two starts later.
Though his Wyong rider Jeff Penza hasn’t won on Invincible Dash, he has partnered him in two 1600m events, finishing third at Dubbo in September 2021 and fourth at Canberra last November; a week before the gelding backed up and won the Queanbeyan Cup, ridden by Brendan Ward.
Trainer Richard Litt has opted for blinkers again on MrKennedy (Josh Parr) in the Club Terrigal Midway 4YO&Up Maiden Plate (1100m) in a bid to hoist him into the winning list.
The Fastnet Rock six-year-old was a $1.8m yearling purchasein 2018, and has raced only seven times for five placings.
He has been runner-up at his last three appearances since joining Litt’s Warwick Farm team; the latest when a $1.35 hotpot in a similar race at Gosford a week ago.
Hawkesbury trainer Claire Lever has withdrawn dual venue acceptor Luai from the Kensington meeting today in favour of a Wyong engagement in the Ettalong Diggers 3YO Maiden Handicap (1100m), and Kathy O’Hara will ride him.
Luai is going back to where he began his career a fortnight ago, when third to Orlabent in an 1100m Provincial Maiden.
With both Spicy Hotpot (Sara Ryan) and Bubba’s Bay (Kris Lees) starting on the Kensington track today, the field for tomorrow’s Munmorah United Bowling Club Class 1 Handicap (1100m) will be reduced to six.
One of the more interesting runners at the meeting will be Hawkesbury three-year-old Highway Patrol, who has won both his home track trials on May 8 and 22 and is favorite for the Wyong Leagues Club Group Maiden Plate (1350m).
Trainer Ed O’Rourke has decided to use a lugging bit on the gelding, who was withdrawn from engagements at Dubbo last Friday and again on his home track two days later.
. The eight-race program begins at 12.05pm. The rail is in the TRUE position, and a “Soft 7” rating was posted this morning, with a “Heavy 8” in the chute between the 1350m and 1000m.
RACE 1 – 12.05pm: ETTALONG DIGGERS 3YO MAIDEN HANDICAP, 1100m: 1 MAGNATEAR, 2 Amberina, 3 Emphatic Bel, 4 Luai.
RACE 2 – 12.40pm: WYONG LEAGUES CLUB GROUP MAIDEN PLATE, 1350m: 1 HIGHWAY PATROL, 2 Huracanevo, 3 Skyhawk, 4 Dapper Dancer.
RACE 3 – 1.20pm: CLUB TERRIGAL MIDWAY 4YO&UP MAIDEN PLATE, 1100m: 1 COUNTER MOVE, 2 MrKennedy, 3 Lord Bob, 4 Prize Tulip.
RACE 4 – 1.55pm: MINGARA RECREATION CLUB PROVINCIAL CLASS 1/MAIDEN PLATE, 2100m: 1 ACCEBER, 2 Special Day, 3 El Bravo, 4 Semper Fortis.
RACE 5 – 2.35pm: COASTLINE CLEANING & MAINTENANCE MAIDEN HANDICAP, 1600m: 1 OCCHIATA, 2 The Professor, 3 Jamrock, 4 Our Kinsmen.
RACE 6 – 3.10pm: MUNMORAH UNITED BOWLING CLUB CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1100m: 1 ANGEL FUND, 2 Mount Warning, 3 Ringdembells, 4 Sir Kerm.
RACE 7 – 3.50pm: BELLA GROUP BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP, 1350m: 1 EDGE OF REWARD, 2 Bokuden, 3 Victory Salute, 4 Lord Heron.
RACE 8 – 4.25pm: CLUBS NSW CENTRAL COAST REGION BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP, 1600m: 1 INVINCIBLE DASH, 2 Trust The Process, 3 Roccaforte, 4 Mr Severino.