Leading Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton and jockey Bobby El-Issa cemented a special bond at Mudgee on Sunday.
Singleton called on El-Issa to get his six-year-old mare Oakwood Lady back into the winning list – and that’s exactly what occurred! El-Issa hadn’t ridden Oakwood Lady since July last year, but it didn’t matter.
His rails-hugging ride enabled the mare to kick clear on straightening in the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1200m), and thereafter the $5 chance was never in danger. She comfortably held out $2.15 favourite Lifeline Princess to post an overdue success at her fourth run this preparation.
“Scotty and I have known each other for a long time, and this mare is pretty special to me,” El-Issa said afterwards. “She was my first winner when I came back (after beating cancer).”
That was at Orange on April 1 last year – also in a Benchmark 55 Handicap. It had been 18 starts since El-Issa had ridden Oakwood Lady in a race. “Bobby and Oakwood Lady seem to get on really well together,” Singleton added.
Hawkesbury trainers Mike Van Gestel and Garry Frazer each celebrated victories at their home track meeting last Saturday. Van Gestel scored with Charlie Chap, and Frazer made it two wins on the bounce with Perpetual Motion.
Beginning his three-year-old season, Charlie Chap ($3 fav) landed the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m) on the back of a 1000m barrier trial success at home last month. Charlie Chap showed good ability during his two-year-old year, and hopefully is now set to make his mark in good races.
Perpetual Motion ($6) showed that his seven lengths’ romp over 2008m at Bathurst on August 18 was definitely no fluke by scoring again. With Grant Buckley aboard, the five-year-old won the Benchmark 60 Handicap (1800m).
Hawkesbury apprentice Chelsea Ings was another who maintained her good form, this time at Saturday’s non-TAB Mendooran fixture. After three minor placings, Ings won the final event, the Benchmark 48 Handicap (1000m) on the Bryan Dixon-trained Hidden Chief ($4.40). This was the 28th success of her career, which continues to gain momentum.