Three local trainers ensured Godolphin’s James Cummings didn’t take all the spoils at Thursday’s Lander Toyota Ladies Day Cup meeting at Hawkesbury. Whilst Cummings clinched a treble (including the $150,000 feature event) – and for good measure also the final event at Flemington on Oaks day – Scott Singleton, Brad Widdup and Mitch Newman proudly flew the flag for the locals.
Singleton bagged a double – the first leg with a favorite and the other with a roughie – and Widdup and Newman each chipped in with a victory. Singleton scored with Concessions ($2 favourite) and Poet’s Advocate ($26), Widdup with second favorite Junglized ($2.40) and Newman with $17 chance Final Impulse.
Christian Reith played his part in two of the four Hawkesbury winners, getting both Concessions and Junglized home. Concessions again showed her liking for her home track, notching her fourth win (all at Hawkesbury) in the Mitavite Stayers Class 4 Handicap (2100m). Though she raced keenly in the early and middle stages, she proved the superior stayer in comfortably defeating $12 chances Happy Partner and As I Do.
“She is lovely and healthy and I think that’s the best she has ever gone,” Singleton said afterwards of his four-year-old Tickets mare. Whilst he admits Concessions has a real liking for her home circuit, he is keen to chase a Saturday win in town with her in the coming weeks.
“It’s a bit of circumstance that all her wins so far have been at home because she has raced more here,” he said. “I won’t shy away from running her at Hawkesbury if the races suit, but I’d like to try her again in town over a bit more distance and then give her a break.”
Poet’s Advocate (Shaun Guymer) made it two wins from his last three starts when he outpaced his rivals in the Richmond Club Ted McCabe Class 4 Handicap (1500m). He had scored at Newcastle on October 7 in a 1400m Class 2 Handicap (also at double figure odds) before finishing fifth to Brother In Arms in a Class 3 (1400m) at Nowra 15 days later.
“He went too hard early at Nowra,” Singleton said. “Shaun rode him well today and got a winning break at the right time coming to the home turn. Poet’s Advocate is a difficult horse. He can gallop, but it’s a shame he doesn’t have a real good mind to go with it. Perhaps it will come one day.”
Widdup, understandably, has a soft spot for Junglized, who was his first starter at Canberra in late May and provided him with an unforgettable debut winner. The Snitzel three-year-old posted his third success from only eight starts when he won a stirring duel with $2.30 favourite Kennedy in the Easy Lane Benchmark 65 Handicap (1100m), preventing the runner-up’s trainer from a four-win haul. “It was a good tough effort, and there’s still a little bit of improvement in him,” Widdup said of Junglized.
Newman prepared Final Impulse ($17) for a first-up tilt at the T & L Fowler Concreting Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1100m), and the Shaft gelding led home a Hawkesbury trifecta. Final Impulse, who had not raced since finishing unplaced at the Sapphire Coast on March 31, trialled nicely on wet ground at Wyong on October 23. He finished second in an 845m heat, and the form from that trial worked out well.
Richard Nutman’s Kathaire ($3.50), third in the Wyong trial, chased home Final Impulse, but was never likely to overhaul him. John Higgins’s Our Celtic Star ($17) was third. Cummings’s victory with Duca Valentinois in the Listed Lander Toyota Ladies Day Cup (1400m) followed earlier wins with Seine Net ($1.26 fav) and Beijing Board ($9).
Jason Collett claimed another feature Hawkesbury success this year with a superb ride on the import, giving him time to settle and then bringing him from last approaching the home turn to burst between runners in the centre of the track. Collett partnered Fabrizio when he won the $200,000 Group 3 Livamol Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) in April.
Duca Valentinois ($5.50) powered home to beat $3.50 favorite Passage of Time and local mare Unequivocal ($31), who was slow to begin. Unequivocal was placed in the race for the second year in a row, having been runner-up to stablemate Famous Seamus (now retired) last year.