Who could deny them? Two local horses with a combined total of 12 minor placings finally broke through on Tuesday; fittingly at home at Hawkesbury.
Image Neat (Bobby El-Issa) had been placed at all five starts before winning the Polytrack Maiden Plate (1300m) for Scott Singleton, who naturally was pleased to see him greet the judge ahead of his rivals.
Similarly, Peter Green was thrilled to score first-up with Quite Unexpected (Grant Buckley) in the Schweppes Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m), especially as he had registered seven placings. To make it an excellent day for Hawkesbury trainers, Jason Attard chipped in with Raise The Limit (Jay Ford), who landed the Robert Oatley Wines Benchmark 66 Handicap (1600m).
The three winners boosted the number of winners to 59 prepared by Hawkesbury trainers this calendar year.
Singleton took blinkers off Image Neat and brought him back in distance to post his first success. After trailing his four rivals throughout, El-Issa eased him to the centre of the track in the straight and he justified his $2.70 favoritism by overhauling C’Est Davinchi ($2.80).
Singleton says the jury is out as to whether the lightly-raced four-year-old will manage longer distances: “The way he races you would think he will get further, but I’m not so sure,” he said.
“But he did look a bit stronger parading prior to the race, so perhaps he will do so as he gets older. He has got a little bit of ability.”
Green produced an excellent training performance to win with Quite Unexpected, who was resuming after a mandatory ban following a bleeding attack when he last raced at Queanbeyan last September. He gave him two trials to get him ready first-up, and he did a good job to score at $8.50 in spite of laying in under pressure in the straight.
Wyong debutante Gold Codes was all the rage, going to the barrier as a solidly backed $1.90 favourite, but it was Casino Prince five-year-old Quite Unexpected who beat another $8.50 chance Fruitful Warrior and another Hawkesbury representative, Terry Croft’s Calaway Dancer ($26).
Attard made it a Hawkesbury treble with another of Casino Prince’s foals, five-year-old mare Raise The Limit. A $6 chance, she beat My Song ($6) and $3.50 favourite Sacred Edge.
Attard had two acceptors in the Benchmark 66, but withdrew Kiarra Rose to rely on his eventual winner. He had given Raise The Limit two starts in Sydney (on February 7 and 28) at the beginning of her current preparation before dropping her back to provincial company on Tuesday. Raise The Limit notched the fourth win of her 22-start career, and she has also been placed on four occasions.