Cessnock, Kembla Grange and Gulargambone ... Hawkesbury’s weekend winners came from far and wide. Trainer Terry Croft got in first when successful at the Jungle Juice Cup meeting at Cessnock on Friday, scoring with Colonial Reign.
Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup and apprentice Chelsea Ings followed up on Saturday, each scoring at Kembla Grange and Gulargambone. Apprentice Jean Van Overmeire had the mount on Croft’s well-backed Colonial Reign ($4.80 favourite), who landed the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1570m) from Triple Hero ($5.50) and Yatte Yattah ($14). It was the six-year-old Strada gelding’s third success from 24 starts.
Colonial Reign has been a regular visitor to the annual Forbes Cup carnival the last couple of years, and won his first race there over 1300m in August last year. He also finished third in a Benchmark 59 Handicap (1400m) at this year’s meeting before being freshened.
Colonial Reign’s other victory was on his home last track last November in a 1600m Class 1 Handicap. Double figure odds were bet about the gelding when markets opened, and he was also strongly supported on course.
Van Overmeire gave him the run of the race in third place, then eased him away from the fence around the tiring Prince Roo near the home turn to set out after Triple Hero. The runner-up did not concede without a battle, but Colonial Reign was a shade too strong in the closing stages.
Widdup clinched the 19th win of his fledgling career when Pleasantries won a three-horse race at Kembla Grange on Saturday. In the process, she maintained her unbeaten record from only two starts.
With Blake Spriggs aboard, Pleasantries ($2.60) fought back after being headed in the straight to edge out $1.95 favourite Mollyfied in the fillies and mares’ Class 1 Handicap (1200m). A four-year-old mare by Foxwedge, she did not begin her career until September 21 when successful on her home track in an 1100m Maiden.
Pleasantries was Widdup’s 14th winner of the season, and he also finished second with Dancers ($4) in the opening Kembla race (1400m Class 2 Handicap) and third with Fastnet Rock filly Workdrinks in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1400m) at Saturday’s The TAB Everest meeting at Royal Randwick.
Ings travelled to the non-TAB fixture at Gulargambone, where she had five mounts and posted the 32nd win of her career. Her successful ride was $6 chance Nino in the Class 1 Handicap (1200m) for Carinda trainer Peter Pennell. A four-year-old son of Hinchinbrook, Nino beat Duke of Berat ($5.50) and $3.20 favourite Hurry Up Kelvin.