Apprentice Blaike McDougall is hoping trainer Angela Davies can provide him with some “magic” at Hawkesbury’s final meeting of the season on Sunday.
McDougall has a one-win lead over rival Brock Ryan in the Hawkesbury apprentices’ premiership and can virtually seal the title by winning on Davies’ Sir Magic in the second race, the Prestige Racehorse Transport Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m).
McDougall has only two rides – the other being locally-trained Lily’s Little Girl (Beards Of Hope Cup Class 1 Handicap, 1300m) – whereas Ryan has a solitary booking. He partners Godolphin’s Kent for James Cummings in the final event, the Nor-West Jets AFC Benchmark 70 Handicap (1800m). Both the trainers and jockeys’ premierships are foregone conclusions. Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott (currently 16 wins) have an unassailable four-win lead and will celebrate their first Hawkesbury title as a joint partnership, whilst Tye Angland (13 wins) lands his second Hawkesbury riding premiership in the last three years.
Closest rivals Josh Parr (12), yesterday’s successful Grafton Cup jockey, and last year’s title holder, Brenton Avdulla (11), on the suspended list until Monday, are absentees from the meeting. Thus the remaining premiership interest lies with the apprentices.
Aside from McDougall and Ryan, Rachel King (currently two wins behind the former) is the only other possibility. She has three mounts – Flying Dee Jay (2000m CBD Medico-Legal Consultants Maiden Plate) and Street Pursuit (Beards Of Hope Cup) for Waterhouse and Bott, and Oakfield Monarch (Nor-West Jets Benchmark 70) for Wyong’s Kristen Buchanan.
Gosford-based Davies has a dual hand in Sir Magic’s race, as she also runs Single And Free (Andrew Gibbons). Both four-year-olds are resuming and are proven first-up performers. Sir Magic has won once from three starts when beginning campaigns, whilst Single And Free has won two of her three resumptions.
Davies this morning gave McDougall’s premiership aspirations a boost by expressing a slight preference for Sir Magic over his stablemate.
“Single And Free is the better performed (she has won four of her seven starts) of my pair, but has drawn the outside barrier, has plenty of weight (60kg) and will be better suited over a longer distance,” Davies said.
“Sir Magic has won first-up before at Hawkesbury over this distance, and is more favourably drawn.”
McDougall was in the saddle when Sir Magic won a Class 2 Handicap (1000m) at Hawkesbury on August 18 last year at his first run in nearly six months. He went into that race on the back of one lead-up trial, and goes into Sunday’s assignment on a similar preparation, having trialled over 845m at Wyong on July 5. He was given an easy time in the straight and finished last of the six runners, but only three lengths from the winner Cultural Man (Group 1 Randwick Guineas runner-up Invincible Gem finished fourth).
McDougall’s 1.5kg claim lessens Sir Magic’s weight to 58kg, giving him a 2kg advantage over his stablemate.
Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup is undecided whether he will have his first runner on his new home track on Sunday.
Widdup has his recent Goulburn winner Chilcotin (Christian Reith) in the Mr Taxman Class 1 Handicap (1500m).
“Chilcotin has drawn the second outside barrier,” Widdup said this morning. “I’m not sure at this stage whether we will run.”
Widdup, who has made a successful start to his training career with two wins (he scored with his first runner Junglized at Canberra on May 26) from a handful of starters, also has Suspenders (Luke Nolen) engaged at Caulfield tomorrow.
Newcastle’s Kris Lees is prepared to overlook Calypso Bay’s last start defeat in assessing his prospects in the 1800m No-West Jets AFC Benchmark 70 Handicap. The four-year-old was never in the hunt when sixth in a Benchmark 71 Handicap (1600m) at Warwick Farm on June 28 three weeks after romping home in heavy ground over 1550m at Canterbury in a Benchmark 67.
“All I can put it down to is that he also failed at Warwick Farm late last year when an odds-on favorite after winning his previous two starts,” Lees said.
Andrew Gibbons rides Calypso Bay, who has 61kg second topweight as he returns to provincial company.
Lees also has debutant and two-track acceptor Nationality (Kerrin McEvoy) in the Sieders Truck Repairs Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m), but is considering keeping him at home for tomorrow’s Newcastle meeting.
The rail is 3m out from the 1300m to the winning post for the meeting, and in the TRUE position for the remainder.
A “Good 4” rating was posted this morning, with a penetrometer reading of 4.96.
Selections RACE 1: SONGLIKE, Marble, Vellor. RACE 2: PHUKET, Sir Magic, Single And Free. RACE 3: VARUSKA, Lucky Tiger, Happy Hustler. RACE 4: ADDICTED, Expierroment, Holt Street. RACE 5: NATIONALITY, Zedge, Coloane. RACE 6: SUGAR DANCE, Street Pursuit, Florence Hill. RACE 7: CHILCOTIN, Special Missile, Deer Mountain. RACE 8: CONCUBINE, Calypso Bay, Kent. SPECIALS: SONGLIKE, ADDICTED, NATIONALITY.