Hawkesbury trainers Wayne Austin and Jason Attard’s Goulburn successes on Monday were timely. Only a week out from the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, their respective winners both overcame earlier setbacks in their careers to post important comeback victories.
Austin’s Talladega Knight ($5) broke through in the 1600m Maiden Handicap, and Attard’s odds-on favorite Cinderconi ($1.90) landed the 1400m Class 1 Handicap. Though their winning margins weren’t great, there was plenty of merit in both performances.
Talladega Knight was given the run of the race by Jeff Penza, who moved the Sebring three-year-old up menacingly to tackle the two leaders on the home turn.
Having his ninth start, he battled strongly down the running to beat Fluidity ($11) and $3.10 favourite Super Tickets.
Talladega Knight began his career with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and finished last of six runners behind Goodfella in a 2YO Maiden Plate (1200m) on heavy ground at Canterbury in December, 2016.
That was the only time he raced for the Randwick co-trainers, and he started at $101 at his first start for Austin when fourth to Fallada in a 1400m Goulburn Maiden on March 15 this year.
He has since been placed on three occasions – including twice when runner-up at Goulburn (on June 5 and July 6) – so this victory was certainly deserved.
Austin, who has 12 horses in work, won his first race nearly 12 months ago when My Burning Heart broke through at Gosford – also in a 1600m Maiden – on July 29 last year. He also scored at Goulburn with Invincible Queen in a 1400m Maiden on the same day Talladega Knight made his debut for him on March 15.
“Talladega Knight had a few problems and had to be gelded,” Austin said. “It took a while to get him going, but he works well and I feel he will manage 1800m to 2000m.” Penza supported Austin’s comments, saying the gelding was “strong to the line”.
Lightly-raced Cinderconi made a $26 winning debut at Muswellbrook in January last year for her previous trainer Todd Rawiller. She also has had her problems and did not race again until May 20 this year when, under Attard’s care, finished fourth to Cash Strapped in a Class 2 Handicap (1200m) at Nowra.
Cinderconi, a four-year-old daughter of former top sprinter Nicconi, today was having only her fourth start – and her third for her new trainer. Adrian Layt has partnered her in all four races, and she was the first leg of a Goulburn treble for the rider. Patiently ridden, Cinderconi was brave in narrowly beating Burrangong ($10) and Kappy Cino ($8).
“I was a bit worried about her beforehand on the firm track (Good 3), but she got the job done,” Attard said. “Her previous run at Hawkesbury (when third to Redemption Road on July 5) was good, and I dropped her back to country class to give her a bit of confidence.”
Cinderconi was Attard’s 10th winner for the season, and he also has had 35 minor placings. The Hawkesbury double brought the number of winners trained at the provincial track to 117 since January 1.