Hawkesbury trainers aren’t the only ones getting amongst the spoils. So too are locally-based apprentices. And they’re racking up plenty of kilometres to make their mark!
Qin Yong and Brandon Griffiths were at Gunnedah on Monday – and each came away with a winner.
Chinese-born Qin Yong, apprenticed to Brad Widdup, followed up a Mudgee victory yesterday by scoring on Queensland visitor Congelator ($3.10 favourite) in the Curlewis Cup (1600m). It was his 11th Australian win since joining Widdup’s Hawkesbury stable last year.
Griffiths, an “import” from South Australia and now apprenticed to Bronwyn Mackie at Hawkesbury, is also prepared to travel to show his wares. He notched his third NSW victory by getting Willyama ($6.50) home in a tight finish to the Benchmark 54 Handicap (1400m).
Trainer Paula Cartledge brought Congelator from Oakey on Queensland’s Darling Downs to Gunnedah via an overnight stop at Moree – and the trip paid off. Qin Yong’s 3kg claim lessened the four-year-old’s weight to 53kg, and he made the most of it by ensuring his mount raced right on the pace.
Congelator took the lead on straightening and gallantly held out Collins Street ($11) and Loud Enough ($3.30). The Hawkesbury rider had partnered Congelator only once previously when a close second at Tamworth on May 15. The much-travelled gelding posted his eighth win – and they have been on five different tracks, though this was his first in NSW.
Scone trainer Mary Moses retained Griffiths for Willyama in the Wal Turner Memorial Benchmark 54, and he didn’t let her down. Griffiths rode the Al Maher filly, a 2016 Scone yearling purchase, for the first time when an out of luck eighth at Muswellbrook on June 17 in a Class 2 Handicap (1280m).
The expatriate South Aussie rode Willyama superbly on Monday, keeping her in touch but with cover and producing her into the clear at the 200m. Griffiths’s 1.5kg country claim undoubtedly was the difference between victory and defeat. She just got there from $14 chances Dream Habit and Tilly’s Waltz.
“Willyama is a quirky filly,” he said afterwards. “She was better suited today being held up for a late run.”
Qin Yong and Griffiths weren’t far off leaving Gunnedah each with a double. They also were runners-up on Sapience ($6.50) and The Equinator ($8.50) respectively.