Another six of the best for the second time in a few weeks! That was the upshot of another brilliant weekend for Hawkesbury trainers, who have now won 37 races since January 1 in a fantastic beginning to 2018.
Following on from four wins on Saturday (an Orange treble plus a Newcastle winner), Hawkesbury claimed the closing races at yesterday’s Port Macquarie Showcase and Nowra meetings.
Co-trainers Tara and Philippe Vigouroux scored with Enigami (imagine spelt backwards) at Port Macquarie, and Jamie Thomsen won with Shadow Flight at Nowra.
Hawkesbury won six races on two tracks (Gosford and Orange) on the same day (January 30), and this time the weekend produced a repeat result on four tracks. There was a real Hawkesbury flavour about Enigami’s victory.
Enigami is raced by Hawkesbury Race Club chairman Ken Quigley and his son-in-law, joint trainer Philippe, whilst Hawkesbury apprentice Claire Nutman continued a wonderful association with the mare, who led throughout in the Benchmark 56 Handicap (1100m). She has ridden the seven-year-old in more than one-third of her 50 starts, and has partnered her in all five wins.
Nutman had Enigami ($11) away brilliantly, and skilfully pushed her head out in the shadows of the post to stall off strong-finishing No Qualm ($6.50) in a deceptive finish. For connections, it was sheer relief.
“I thought she had been beaten; we were getting used to placings,” Philippe Vigouroux said. “She is a tough mare, and deserved that win.”
Enigami had not greeted the judge since scoring at Taree on May 23, 2016 – and had been placed on nine occasions since. There was delight for Thomsen also when Shadow Flight ($4.40) broke through in the Maiden Plate (1400m) at Nowra.
The Duporth four-year-old is raced by a syndicate headed by his father, legendary former Sydney trainer Bob Thomsen. With Blake Spriggs aboard, Shadow Flight at his 12th start put four minor placings behind him when he finished strongly to defeat Devious ($4.80) and $21 chance Roc Sands.
It was the gelding’s third run back from a break and he had put the writing on the wall with a minor placing at Muswellbrook at his previous start 17 days earlier.
Meanwhile, Hawkesbury apprentice Chelsea Ings escaped serious injury in a barrier incident prior to the running of the sixth race at Newcastle on Saturday when her mount Drusilla became fractious and reared in the stalls: “Chelsea has a very sore elbow and shoulder, but fortunately there are no breaks,” her mother Wanda Ings said on Sunday.
Ings, enjoying easily the most successful season of her riding career, relinquished the mount on trainer Garry Frazer’s Sweet Fella at Nowra on Sunday, and was replaced by another apprentice, Blaike McDougall. Sweet Fella ($3 favourite), a recent Bathurst winner for Ings, was never in the hunt and finished sixth to Little Off The Top ($5.50) in the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m).