Leading Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton on his home track on Sunday completed a weekend he wouldn’t mind repeating any time.
Singleton won the last race at Newcastle on Saturday with $16 chance Poet’s Advocate (who sported blinkers) and added to that by claiming a double with a pair of four-year-olds by Tickets, Concessions ($2.80) and Itasca ($2.50). And he had the experienced Tye Angland to thank for putting the icing on his weekend cake.
After Christian Reith had won the second race, the Wide Span Sheds Class 2 Handicap (1800m), for Singleton by leading throughout on Concessions, Angland had a much sterner test on Itasca, who settled last in the Hawkesbury Race Club Motel Maiden Plate (2000m).
Singleton, his owners – and favorite backers – breathed sighs of relief when Angland got Itasca home after what he understandably rated a “pretty difficult ride”.
“I told Tye to ride Itasca to settle as in the past he has been 50-50 to do that in his races,” Singleton said afterwards. “Itasca wanted to lug in when Tye started his run on him, but he’s both a good and strong rider.”
Having his 10th start, Itasca put four minor placings behind him to shed his maiden status. Angland, who has won two of the last three Hawkesbury premierships, is in brilliant form. He won Friday’s $150,000 Port Macquarie Showcase Cup on Loving Home and Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick on Ace High.
“My main aim was to get Itasca to relax along the back,” Angland said. “But he was pretty difficult to ride, and I couldn’t really get at him in the straight as he wanted to lay in. I had to revert to the old style hands and heels. If he went straight, he would have won easily.”
Angland also won the Windsor-Hawkesbury South Lions Club Benchmark 62 Handicap (1000m) on Dynamic Bid ($6) for Warwick Farm trainer Gabrielle Englebrecht.
Singleton’s double lifted him to four wins on his home track this new season, and is now a solitary win behind James Cummings and co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
Cummings claimed his fifth success with $1.40 favourite Laussel (Glyn Schofield) in the Wiseberry Thompsons Metro & Provincial Maiden Plate (1300m), whilst the Waterhouse/Bott combination also scored with $2.90 favorite Grand Finalist (Blake Spriggs), who led throughout in the Richmond Lions Club Class 1 Handicap (1400m).
His two Hawkesbury winners aside, Singleton also was encouraged by four-year-old debutante Image Neat’s strong-finishing second at $81 to Meliboea in the Pepe’s Duck Charity Maiden Handicap (1000m).
Angland’s nail-biting victory on Itasca in Hawkesbury’s closing race robbed fellow jockey Blake Shinn, who partnered runner-up Chilli Beauty ($7.50), of a four-win haul. He had also kept him in second placing four races earlier when Dynamic Bid beat Shinn’s mount Malaigo ($4.40).
Shinn and Randwick trainer John Thompson had teamed to land the fifth, sixth and seventh races on well-fancied Meliboea ($2.60), Krystal ($2.35 favorite) and Our Belisa ($2.40 fav).