Melbourne co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are chasing another provincial 'hit' at Hawkesbury on Sunday, this time with Roland Garros.
The duo has recently won provincial races with three-year-old Quality Approach (Hawkesbury on November 14 and Newcastle on December 2) and has just added Roland Garros to its NSW team. The lightly-raced Helmet four-year-old contests the Julius Flooring Class 2 Handicap (2000m), and Kathy O’Hara has been booked to ride him.
“Roland Garros has been a work in progress,” Eustace said this morning. “We trained him earlier, but he had barrier issues and was sent to Adrian Corboy at Wangaratta.
“Adrian does our breaking-in and has straightened Roland Garros out. He won a Class 1 Handicap (1850m) with him at Kyneton last month before his latest close second under 60.5kg at Wodonga over 2050m on November 30.
“Roland Garros was subsequently transferred back to us, and we sent him to our Rosehill stable a week ago. He has settled in well, and the Hawkesbury race looks suitable for him. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of depth. Roland Garros doesn’t necessarily have a turn of foot, but is a grinding type who will run the 2000m out strongly.”
The Maher-Eustace partnership is establishing a presence in Sydney, and currently has eight horses in work at Rosehill Gardens. Apart from the two provincial victories, they have also won three NSW metropolitan races so far this season.
Roland Garros has won two of his eight starts so far, and will race again in a cross-over noseband. He broke through in a Mildura Maiden (2000m) in May – beating six rivals – when earlier under Maher’s care before he began a joint partnership with Eustace at the beginning of this current season in August. Storms which hit parts of NSW overnight resulted in a downgrade to a Soft 7 at Hawkesbury.
Trainer Garry Frazer this morning decided against running dual venue acceptor Playard from Canterbury Park tonight to save him for his home track’s final fixture of the calendar year on Sunday.
Adam Hyeronimus has been booked for Playard in the Bioworma CG&E Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m).
Frazer initially had planned to start the gelding at Hawkesbury last Sunday but opted not to run him in hot weather.
“Hopefully we don’t get any further downgrades,” he said. “Playard trialled on a heavy track a couple of times as a younger horse and didn’t handle it. I would run him on a Soft 6 or 7 but perhaps not any worse.”
Playard was responsible for an excellent performance at his last start when he made good ground to finish third with 61.5kg to Chewbacca (runner-up in a TAB Highway at Rosehill last Saturday) in a Benchmark 66 Handicap (1200m) on Goulburn Cup day (November 25).
Frazer also runs Angelo (Grant Buckley) in the Friend Civil Class 2 Handicap (1100m). The lightly-raced More Than Ready four-year-old has raced only three times – all at Hawkesbury - and struck a heavy surface on debut when narrowly beaten in a 3YO Maiden Plate (1000m) on June 10.
“I have had to be patient with Angelo because of recurring shin soreness,” Frazer said. “But he’s more mature now and is ready to go back to the races. He is going well.”
Angelo was runner-up to Junglized, who was an excellent first-up fourth at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday, in a 1000m trial at Hawkesbury on November 26.
Snitzel filly Sylvia’s Mother (Tommy Berry), one of Angelo’s rivals, will race in a tongue tie. Sylvia’s Mother broke through in a Hawkesbury Maiden over this course in August at only her second start after a debut city placing, and won a Rosehill 900m trial on December 4.
The rail is 3m out from the 1300m to the winning post and in the TRUE for the remainder of the circuit. A Soft 7 rating was posted this morning, with a penetrometer reading of 5.29, following 20mm of rain overnight.
PAUL JOICE'S SELECTIONS
RACE 1: NUCLEAR BURST, Cinquedea, Slight Adjustment.
RACE 2: ROLAND GARROS, Equipped, Dusk Falls.
RACE 3: AFFOGATO, Estroverto, Deliya.
RACE 4: SCHNAPPS, Bad Boy For Love, Groovester.
RACE 5: SYLVIA’S MOTHER, Vincero, Angelo.
RACE 6: LUCKY LOUIE, Miss Redoble, Kathaire.
RACE 7: CHARRETERA, He’s A Given, Foxdown.
BEST: SCHNAPPS, SYLVIA’S MOTHER, CHARRETERA