SUNDAY: May 1, 2022: JASON Attard and his wife Lucy Keegan-Attard not only were the sole local victors at home yesterday, but were entitled to be both relieved and ecstatic.
The popular Hawkesbury husband and wife duo started their first horse in a Midway Handicap (1500m) – and came up trumps, sealing the biggest win of their joint training career.
Knight ($16), ridden by Keagan Latham, put an end to a messy preparation when he bravely shouldered his 59kg to lead home a local quinella.
The Helmet five-year-old would not give in down the running and easily held out Claire Lever’s Highly Desired ($12) to post the fifth victory of his 17-start career.
Team Attard was thrilled to get their first win (and fifth overall this season) at Knight’s fourth start for them – and it’s easy to understand why when you become aware of the lengths they have gone to.
“It’s been very tricky because not much has gone right until yesterday,” Jason Attard said today.
“We had set him for the Provincial Championships, but the floods around the Hawkesbury region intervened.
“He was ready to run in a Qualifier at Newcastle on March 5, but the only way we could get there was to take him via Katoomba to stable at Rosehill the night before.
“Unfortunately, he had a temperature on race morning and we couldn’t run him anyway.”
The Attards finally got to start their gelding in another Newcastle Qualifier for both Provincial and Midway trainers three weeks later, and he finished seventh to Barossa Rosa.
“When Knight didn’t qualify for the Final (at Royal Randwick on April 9), we set our sights on the stand-alone meeting,” Jason Attard said.
“Lucy and myself were over the moon to get such a great result, and especially for our Dubbo owners, who bred the horse.’
“It’s been really frustrating, as it was five weeks between runs. It was hard to get a barrier trial for him, as they were either called off because of the rain or he was balloted out in town.”
Team Attard has enjoyed good success with Keagan Latham, who went to Hawkesbury last week to partner Knight in a jumpout in the lead-up to the Midway assignment.
“He was happy with how Knight went, and we were pretty hopeful he would run well yesterday, though not certain how he would handle the heavy track,” Jason Attard said.
. Team Attard’s victory with Knight, along with Edward Cummings’ Eagle Farm win (Three Wise Men) and Brad Widdup’s Newcastle win (Travelling Kate) yesterday, ensured Hawkesbury’s most successful month so far of the current season.
Hawkesbury trainers prepared 20 winners in April, lifting the tally to 127 in the first nine months of 2021-22.
. Jason Attard, when training solo, won the 2015 Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) with Sons Of John.
However, that race was a casualty of the stand-alone meeting that year when only one race was staged before the remainder of the program was called off because of rain and the state of the track.
“Sons Of John would not have run in the Cup had it been run that year at the stand-alone meeting (May 2), but won an 1800m Benchmark race at Randwick 18 days later, and we decided to start him in the Cup when it was run on the Sunday of the long weekend in June,” Jason Attard said.