Leading Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton has Australian Oaks aspirations with Concessions and is hoping she can take another important step toward that goal at her home track tomorrow.
Singleton has four runners at the meeting – Jess Taylor will partner all of them – and has named the lightly-raced Tickets filly as his best chance.
Concessions will line up for only her sixth start and is chasing her third win in the HRC Members Benchmark 65 Handicap (2000m).
Singleton earlier this week nominated both Concessions and another lightly-raced filly Cambage (successful at her last two starts at Hawkesbury over 1800m and 2100m last November) for the $1m Group 1 Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on 8 April during The Championships.
He has been heartened by the downgrade to a “Soft 6” for tomorrow’s meeting, providing Concessions with a great chance to boost her Oaks claims.
“She is a progressive filly,” Singleton said. “With the rain about, it definitely increases her chances as both her wins have been on wet ground.
“She has trained on well since her last win, and I’m sure she will be hard to beat again.”
Concessions was bred by her owner Wal Lanham, one of Singleton’s long-standing clients, and the trainer said he always considered she would make the grade once she got over more ground.
He did not rush her as a two-year-old and, in fact, she had only one start late in her first season, finishing unplaced at Wyong over 1100m on 26 July.
Concessions revelled in heavy ground at her third start to score at $61 in a 1600m Maiden Plate at Hawkesbury on September 3 (subsequent Flemington Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit ran third and runner-up Audacious Choice was placed at her next two starts in town).
Singleton then gave her a break and she resumed with a splendid fourth in a Benchmark 70 1400m race in Saturday company at Warwick Farm on 7 January before returning to the winning list in a Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1800m on soft ground at home 18 days later.
Understandably, Singleton considers tomorrow’s race as crucial to continuing an Oaks path with Concessions.
“If she wins well, I will have to sit down and plan some of the lead-up events to the Oaks,” he said.
“We don’t know at this stage whether she has the class to match it in a race such as the Oaks, but she keeps improving and you have to be in it to win it.”
Singleton, never backward in travelling his horses to do the best for his owners, has won 18 races in the first half of the current season and is on track to surpass his benchmark 34 winners in 2014-15.
His other runners tomorrow are Jaxim (Jorrocks Memorial Provincial & Country Maiden Plate, 1300m), Four More Millers (Hawkesbury Equine Veterinary Centre Maiden Handicap, 1000m) and Poet’s Advocate (Stand Alone Saturday 29th April Class 2 Handicap, 1400m).
Hugh Bowman makes a welcome return to Hawkesbury with six bookings – four of them for Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller. However, two of them (Wayanka and Tumultuous) are racing at Warwick Farm today.
Bowman’s other Waller mounts are Wu Gok (in Concessions’ race) and Bright Lights Baby (Abbott Locksmiths Maiden Plate, 1600m).
Waller has taken a norton bit off Bright Lights Baby and substituted a tongue control bit.
Bowman’s other Hawkesbury rides are Kris Lees’ three-year-old debutant Purple Trail (Jorrocks Memorial Provincial & Country Maiden Plate, 1300m) and Jim and Greg Lee’s Valiant Mate (Australian Thoroughbred Breeders Club Class 1 Handicap, 1100m).
Team Hawkes’ Missile Strike is bypassing a Warwick Farm engagement today to run in tomorrow’s Hawkesbury Equine Veterinary Clinic Maiden (1000m). Tommy Berry will ride him.
Hawkesbury is rated a “Soft 6” following 15mm of rain in the past 24 hours. The penetrometer reading was 5.21.
Selections: RACE 1: CONCESSIONS, Spooky Wooky, Paragon. RACE 2: EVERY CHANCE, Purple Trail, Repentant. RACE 3: KUNMING, Apollo, Wayanka. RACE 4: NOBLE TRUTH, Liffy, She’s Demanding. RACE 5: MISSILE STRIKE, Petite Voix, Chicquita. RACE 6: VEGA, Hussterical, Stryke A Ransom. RACE 7: FLEETING, Hostwin Vintage, Lily’s Little Girl. RACE 8: ALL IN RHYTHM, Level Eight, Tumultuous. SPECIALS: CONCESSIONS, FLEETING, ALL IN RHYTHM.