Dual acceptor Sun And Heir will dodge metropolitan-trained horses in a bid to clinch a breakthrough success on his home track on Sunday.
Hawkesbury trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith has chosen the Hawkesbury Equine Veterinary Centre Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m) because he feels it is an “easier option”.
Mayfield-Smith has scratched his three-year-old from the Richmond Residential Pty Ltd Maiden Plate over the same distance, which is open to all-comers including Sydney-trained horses but whilst he feels the Provincial & Country Maiden is the way to go, Mayfield-Smith is uncertain whether Sun And Heir will cope with the heavy conditions.
“He has never raced or trialled on a wet track, so it’s hard to say with any confidence how he will handle heavy ground,” Mayfield-Smith said this morning.
“But hopefully the fact that he is out of a More Than Ready mare (Ready To Reign) will be to his advantage.
“Sun And Heir is working well, and this does look a nice race for him if he handles the heavy track.”
Grant Buckley will ride Sun And Heir, who has raced only three times and is showing steady improvement.
At his latest outing, he finished third to Wirnpa in an 1100m 3YO Maiden Plate at Hawkesbury on May 30.
Mayfield-Smith, who earlier in the week announced the retirement of his stable flag-bearer Famous Seamus (who won 12 races, including a Group 1, and more than $1.3m in prizemoney), also has Drill Master in Sunday’s J.K. Williams Contracting Benchmark 65 Handicap (1500m). He will wait until race morning before deciding whether to proceed with a start.
“Drill Master is a bit iffy in the wet and at this stage is not a certain runner,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“I will see what happens with the weather over the next 48 hours and make up my mind before the 7.30am deadline on Sunday.”
Apprentice Rachel Hunt will ride Drill Master if Mayfield-Smith gives the “green light”, her 3kg allowance reducing his weight to 57.5kg.
Like Mayfield-Smith, fellow Hawkesbury trainer Garry White also has withdrawn his dual acceptor Dunatun from the 1300m Maiden Plate to contest the Provincial & Country Maiden over the same trip. Whereas senior jockey Mitchell Bell was booked for Dunatun in the former race, White’s apprentice Ashleigh Borg will partner him in the chosen event. Her 4kg claim will lessen his weight to 51kg – 3.5kg below the minimum.
Dunatun, a two-year-old by proven wet track sire Snitzel, has raced only four times and resumed when eighth to I Am Excited in a Warwick Farm 2YO Maiden Plate (1200m) on May 31.
Cessnock trainer John Bannister is one who won’t be in the least concerned with the current wet conditions, ensuring a heavy surface for the meeting.
His representative in the Turtle Nursery & Landscape Supplies Benchmark 60 Handicap (2000m), Miss Tickles (Alison Threadwell), is an accomplished wet tracker.
The six-year-old Youthful Legs mare has started seven times on heavy ground for two wins and four placings.
In one of those victories, she romped home by more than seven lengths over 2200m on a “Heavy 10” at Scone in July last year.
Hawkesbury this morning was rated a “Heavy 9” with a penetrometer reading of 5.85. The track has received nearly 100mm of rain in the last few days.
The rail is in the TRUE position for the eight-race program, which begins at 12.15pm.
Entry is by a gold coin donation on Sunday for a popular Family Fun Day, though children, pensioners and members of both Blacktown Workers and Richmond Clubs will be admitted FREE of charge.
Selections RACE 1: POLEMIC, Zijin Cheng, My Friend Charlie. RACE 2: CUDABEEN, Phuket, Fifty Ways. RACE 3: WEEKEND AFFAIR, Zepherine, Dream Builder. RACE 4: MY EMPIRE, Sun And Heir, Dunatun. RACE 5: THE WORLD OVER, Personable, Lucky Tiger. RACE 6: GOT TO THINK, Miss Tickles, Numerate. RACE 7: WRITE THIS DOWN, Centro Superior, Sweet Fella. RACE 8: HUTCHO, Balius, Ready Set Sing. SPECIALS: POLEMIC, WEEKEND AFFAIR, WRITE THIS DOWN.