SUNDAY: August 11, 2019: GARRY Frazer was equally complimentary about both horse and jockey after he opened his 2019-20 account at Newcastle yesterday.
Hawkesbury’s four-times Group 1 winning trainer won the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) for fillies and mares with his lightly-raced four-year-old Sharapova ($4.40), partnered by talented apprentice Cejay Graham.
Frazer, not one for making rash statements, was understandably delighted to win his second race with Sharapova this season.
“She is going good,” he said today. “There’s another race at Newcastle (a Class 2 Handicap, 1400m) against her own sex on Saturday week, but I’ll see what her benchmark rating goes to before making a decision on that.”
And Frazer was just as effusive about Graham’s performance to win on his mare.
“The young girl can ride and is a thinker,” he said. “Because of the strong headwind, I told her beforehand that it would be great if she could give Sharapova cover by settling her one out and back if possible.
“When it looked as though she would be trapped wide and pulling, she did the right thing and let her stride and go to the front, then eased and gave her a nice run.”
Graham, who began her career on the Mid North Coast and is currently with Peter and Paul Snowden at Randwick, notched the 104th winner of her career when successful on Sharapova.
Frazer trains the Sebring mare, a $220,000 yearling purchase at the 2017 Magic Millions sales, for long-standing client Steve Wilde and Jarrod Rourke, who also part-owns this year’s Sydney Cup winner Shraaoh.
Unfortunately, Sharapova’s career had to be delayed when she chipped a bone in a knee before she could race, and had a lengthy recuperation.
As a result, she was having only her seventh start yesterday when she comfortably beat $3.40 favorite Black And Tan and $26 chance Belle Of Portugal.
Sharapova is the only horse in racing trim Frazer has in work. “I’ve got a number of babies getting ready for trials, so it was great to see her win her second race from only three starts this time in,” he said.
“I thought she ran well when eighth at Rosehill in a Saturday race (figured in the stewards’ report) a fortnight ago, and definitely should have finished closer.”
Frazer is looking hopefully for a replacement for his Group 1 mare Spright, who has been retired and will be mated with Zoustar this season.
“I don’t think Sharapova is another Spright, but she is a smart mare and I’m sure we can win more races with her,” he said.
. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Karen Outtrim also opened her new season account when Dragon’s Shadow scored on Canberra’s ACTON track last Friday.
But this time there was nothing like $201 on offer – the price the gelding started at when successful in a Hawkesbury Maiden (1500m) on August 3, 2017, defeating Social Element.
Dragon’s Shadow hasn’t been able to replicate that victory in more than 20 subsequent starts, although he notched minor placings at Mudgee, Forbes and Goulburn.
The five-year-old was never going to break through in the Class 1/Maiden Plate (1900m) on Canberra’s synthetic surface, but his tenacity and jockey Shaun Guymer’s never-say-die attitude won the day.
Dragon’s Shadow ($5.50) came from last and sustained a long run wide on the track in the straight to overhaul Yeppoon ($16) in the last couple of strides.
. Hawkesbury jockey Chelsea Ings sprung a $41 upset at today’s Narromine Cup meeting.
She won the Class 1 Handicap (1200m) on the Forbes-trained Miss Charlie.
It was also her first success of the season and the 56th of her career.