Jason Attard couldn’t believe his eyes when Kiarra Rose was tailed off 61 lengths from the winner in a Kembla Grange race in early March.
But the Hawkesbury trainer’s concerns were allayed the following day when he discovered the mare had a very swollen black eye; courtesy of perhaps either a flying shoe or clod of turf.
On her home track at Hawkesbury on Thursday, it was Kiarra Rose who knocked out her rivals in the Livamol Benchmark 61 Handicap (2000m). Superbly ridden by Keagan Latham, the Testa Rossa mare notched her fourth success with an $8 victory over another $8 chance Counterfire and Itasca ($6).
Expatriate South African, Latham has formed a successful association with Attard’s mare. He has been aboard in all her three wins since joining the trainer’s team, and has also been placed five times on her.
Kiarra Rose, whose large group of owners has set up a Twitter account for the mare and describe her as a “late bloomer”, provided Attard with her fourth victory at home this season.
“Thankfully, she recovered quickly from the injury sustained at Kembla Grange and is now at her peak,” Attard said last night. “Keagan (Latham) understands the mare and rides her so well.”
Attard’s comeback seven-year-old Sons Of John is ticking over nicely following a luckless run in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at the Scone carnival on May 12. Having his first start in more than a year, the gelding was in contention in the straight before being stopped in his tracks.
“He pulled up well, and we’ll find another race for him shortly,” Attard said.
Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Garry White joined Scott Singleton as joint leading local trainer this season when Redemption Road ($3) bolted home in the Abax Contracting Provincial & Country Maiden (1300m). Ridden by Corey Brown, the Dane Shadow three-year-old easily accounted for other Hawkesbury representatives Spin Bowles ($2.70) favourite and Trades Star ($9). This was White’s eighth winner on his home track this season, and Brown’s 11th.
“Redemption Road had the ultimate gear change (gelded),” White said after Redemption Road’s breakthrough success. “That has made all the difference. He can win more races.”
James Cummings (18 wins) maintained a comfortable lead over the Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott team (12 wins) in the trainers’ premiership when each stable scored at Hawkesbury. Cummings’ Wander ($1.65 fav) landed the Irresistible Pools & Spas Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m) after Waterhouse-Bott had earlier won the Rygate Racecourse Design Maiden with Just A Joke ($10).
It was a similar story with the jockeys’ premiership. Brenton Avdulla’s victory on Wander took him to 21 wins for the season; six clear of Josh Parr, who won on Just A Joke. Tye Angland’s victory on Toroso ($2.50 fav) in the opening race, the Polytrack Maiden (1500m), lifted him to 13 wins for the current season at Hawkesbury.