SUNDAY: July 8, 2018: YOUNG Hawkesbury trainer Craig Weeding is on a roll with his small team, and hopes to maintain the momentum at Kembla Grange on Thursday.
Weeding won his fourth race in the last few weeks when Operose ran her rivals off their legs in the Benchmark 65 Handicap (1010m) at the Dubbo TAB meeting yesterday.
She also scored at the Mudgee picnics on June 16, whilst Weeding clinched other wins with stablemate Chekkapen at Bathurst on June 3 and Mudgee last Sunday.
It’s Chekkapen who will attempt to continue his trainer’s winning run when he steps up to provincial company in a Class 2 Handicap (1600m) at Kembla.
The Shrapnel four-year-old is understandably close to Weeding’s heart as he derived his name from a combination of the names of his three nieces (Chelsea, Kate and Penny).
Weeding, an experienced horse breaker and pre-trainer, took out his licence late in the 2015-16 season and had only three starters.
He managed one placing from 16 starters last season, and has really hit his straps this season, especially in the latter half of it.
He trained his inaugural winner Chocolate Coated (now retired) at Queanbeyan on January 27, and has now prepared five winners along with eight minor placegetters from only 40 starters.
The downside to Operose’s Dubbo victory yesterday was that she bled and is now automatically barred from racing for three months.
But disappointed as he was, Weeding also looked at the result on a positive note.
“We had some luck as three horses, including the favorite, were scratched at the barrier and left only five runners,” he said.
“With apprentice Wendy Peel’s 3kg claim, Operose carried only 51kg.
“I put blinkers on her at Dubbo and she went really well.
“We’ll give her a break because of the bleeding ban and bring her back for another campaign in the new season.”
Weeding has done a good job with the six-year-old I Am Invincible mare, who had a series of trainers before joining his stable.
“I got her earlier this year and race her with a friend Wyatt Foderaro,” he said.
Operose’s Dubbo victory was the fourth of her career. When she scored at the Mudgee picnics over 900m on June 16, it was her first success since a Scone Class 1 (900m) in April, 2015.
Chekkapen and Operose are the mainstay of Weeding’s small team, but he also has five young horses in work getting ready to trial and is looking forward to racing them.
His Dubbo win with Operose came on top of fellow Hawkesbury trainers Jamie Thomsen and Scott Singleton each notching successes at the respective Muswellbrook and Goulburn meetings last Friday.
Thomsen won the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1750m) with Just Two Vees ($7.50), who deserved an overdue breakthrough after consistent form on Canberra’s ACTON (synthetic) track.
Whilst it was only Just Two Vees’ second win, there was nothing unlucky about his rider Qin Yong’s performance.
The Hawkesbury apprentice made it 13 wins in Australia since joining Brad Widdup’s Hawkesbury stable last year.
Singleton won the Benchmark 55 Handicap (2100m) at Goulburn with Art Of Defence (Jess Taylor), who started at $9.
The Teofilo gelding had been placed on five occasions since scoring over 2300m at Newcastle in April last year.
Weeding, Thomsen and Singleton’s successes brought the number of Hawkesbury winners since January 1 to 108.