By his own admission, Hawkesbury hasn’t been the happiest hunting ground for trainer Todd Howlett.
But he’s hoping to change that tomorrow when his promising young sprinter All Stand makes his provincial debut in the Bachmayer Orthodontic Clinic Class 2 Handicap (1000m).
Howlett has booked Blake Shinn to ride the lightly-raced I Am Invincible four-year-old, who has won two of his three starts on the country circuit. Howlett also runs Dalmatia Prince (Josh Parr), who resumes in the T & L Fowler Concreting Benchmark 69 Handicap (1300m). He nominated both horses for Friday’s Scone meeting, but has opted to head to Hawkesbury to hopefully change his luck there.
“It hasn’t been the happiest track for me even though I have won a feature race, but all the same I haven’t had a huge amount of starters over the years,” Lower Belford-based Howlett said this morning.
Howlett won the Listed Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury in 2012 with Star Of Octagonal (Robert Thompson) when it was run at the Saturday stand-alone meeting.
His only subsequent winner at the track was Cann I (Sam Clenton), in a 1300m Maiden Plate on May 12, 2015.
All Stand was bred by well-known former bookmaker Peter Cruickshank, and Howlett is looking forward to testing him in stronger company.
“He could gallop right from the start, and is a promising young horse,” Howlett said.
“All Stand trialled well at Wyong recently and is ready to go back to the races. I’m sure he will run well, but it’s not an easy race in spite of the small field.
“This will be a good test for him.”
All Stand won two of his first three trials (the first two in 2016) and didn’t make his debut until June 18 this year when narrowly beaten in a 1010m Muswellbrook Maiden on a heavy track.
He won his next two starts – at Muswellbrook on July 4 (1000m) and at Scone (also 1000m) on July 24 – leading throughout on both occasions when favourite.
Howlett then gave him a short break before trialling him over 845m at Wyong last Monday week. He jumped well, then was restrained to sit off the pace and allowed to run to the line without being put under any pressure.
Two of All Stand’s Hawkesbury rivals – Latin Boy and Knotted – are recent winners, whilst topweight Treviso won an 845m heat at the same Wyong trial session and Godolphin’s Connoisseur was narrowly beaten in a 900m Rosehill Gardens trial on September 4.
All Stand’s stablemate Dalmatia Prince returns to racing as a gelding; having not started since finishing seventh to Hay Now in a TAB Highway (1500m) at Rosehill on May 20.
Earlier that preparation, he scored impressively at Tamworth (1400m on April 17) and Dubbo (1600m on May 1) before finishing 11th (beaten only four lengths) to France in the $400,000 Inglis Guineas (1400m) at the Scone carnival on May 13.
“Dalmatia Prince needed to be gelded to keep his mind on racing rather than other things,” Howlett said. “He is a nice horse who will likely need this run and be better off when he gets to 1600m.”
Grand Finalist (Shinn), one of Dalmatia Prince’s rivals, will wear a tongue tie on the recommendation of fellow jockey Paul King.
King made the recommendation after scoring on the lightly-raced four-year-old at Hawkesbury on September 2 when an odds-on favourite, explaining he felt he got his tongue back during that race.
Talented apprentice Jean Van Overmeire’s return has been welcomed by local trainers who have booked him for five of his six mounts tomorrow.
Van Overmeire, who notched 67 winners last season, hasn’t ridden since being dislodged from Calm and Serene in the last race at Kembla Grange on August 19.
Van Overmeire struck his head on the barrier stall structure when his mount reared at the start. As a result he became very unbalanced and was dislodged a short distance later.
His Hawkesbury bookings are Golden Tresor and Miss Breffni for Scott Singleton, Legistation and Too Chic (Wade Slinkard) and Shadow Flight (Jamie Thomsen).
Singleton has withdrawn dual acceptor Miss Breffni from the Richmond Club Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1100m), preferring to contest the Griffin Air Conditioning Maiden Plate over the same distance. She will race in winkers.
Van Overmeire’s other Hawkesbury mount is one of All Stand’s rivals, Treviso, for Wyong trainer Allan Denham.
The rail is out varying distances for tomorrow’s meeting; 3m from the 1000m to 800m, 5m from 800m to winning post and TRUE for the remainder.
The track this morning was rated a Good 4, with a penetrometer reading of 4.81. Six mm of irrigation has been put on in the last 24 hours and 28mm in the last week.
Selections RACE 1: DARHAD, Xaarfoxylady, Golden Tresor. RACE 2: ARGEMONE, Ready For Love, Cavellton. RACE 3: SAVAPINSKI, Rogue Missile, Kelvinside. RACE 4: LATIN BOY, Connoisseur, Treviso. RACE 5: PLEASANTRIES, Oxford Bella, Fifth Affair. RACE 6: ON THE SPOT, Grand Finalist, El Dorado Mine. RACE 7: HISTORY REPEATS, Shaolin Kungfu, Underground. RACE 8: CRIMSON HALO, Too Chic, Bon Equus. SPECIALS: DARHAD, SAVAPINSKI, HISTORY REPEATS.