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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


AUGUST 13, 2023: IT’S a brand new season - and with it a brand new batch of names for the “babies”!

And there’s indeed one which goes a long way toward taking the cake for the cleverest.

The two-year-old colt is being trained by Hawkesbury husband and wife Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard, and will race under the name of SPARE.

His sire is Harry Angel, and of course Spare is the name of Prince Harry’s controversial book, released earlier this year.

“Someone suggested the name to us, and it’s very clever,” Jason Attard said.

“We had no trouble getting the name approved. In fact, it was the first on the list we had to submit.”

The naming of this young colt is in keeping with the Royal theme, as his dam is Reiby Regina – and Regina is the Latin word for Queen.

But the story goes much deeper than that, and it’s a sure bet there will be emotion aplenty if the Hawkesbury couple can win a race with Spare.

The reason being that Jason Attard has a special attachment to Reiby Regina.

“She was the first foal I ever delivered at Reibycroft Stud, and I broke her in as well,” Attard explained.

“And she was my first city winner (at Canterbury on December 12, 2012).

“I did a lot of breaking in for Godolphin earlier, and loved Reiby Regina’s sire Commands.

“I was fortunate to be able to buy Reiby Regina from the late Sid Kelly (former long-serving Hawkesbury Race Club director), and Spare is the first foal Lucy and myself have bred from her.

“We weren’t interested in selling him as a yearling, and will race him ourselves.

“Reiby Regina also has a weanling filly by Graff.”

Attard says Spare has broken in really well and has gone through the various stages of his early education.

“He is a really good type; a big, strong colt,” he said.

Yet to grace the racetrack of course, Spare already has plenty to live up to as his dam, a four-times winner, also knows how to produce winners.

Kelly, (who passed away in May last year) and his widow Carolyn bred three foals from Reiby Regina – geldings Reiby’s Regent and Not Another Reiby, and the lightly-raced mare Xeiby – and all have won.

Reiby’s Regent (now retired) was trained by Attard firstly and then in partnership with his wife to win three of his four career victories, Not Another Reiby (now racing in north-west Queensland) has also won four races, and Xeiby is trained at Scone, has had only three starts and won there on debut in January.

. Meanwhile, Team Attard, which finished the last season with a benchmark 14 winners, is keen to have a crack at next Thursday’s $200,000 Pioneer Services Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury with the promising Ruby Flyer, who has won four of his last five starts.

“Whilst he hasn’t raced since scoring at Warwick Farm on July 19, we have kept him ticking over nicely,” Jason Attard said.

“It’s a big jump from a Benchmark 72 Handicap to a Listed race, but Ruby Flyer is fit and in great form and it would be terrific to win another feature race at home.

“Hopefully we can get a start with him.”

The Attards have also nominated Luvoir for the Rowley Mile, which has drawn 16 entries, and the only other local entry is Blake Ryan’s Momack, runner-up in last December’s Summer Provincial Series Final (1600m) at home.

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings put his name on the new season’s winning list with Strait Acer at Rosehill Gardens yesterday as he prepares his classy mare Duais for a resumption at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Strait Acer ($4.20 favorite) did a good job to take the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1500m) after not being the quickest to jump.

It was the Headwater four-year-old’s second win from only three starts this campaign, and his third from eight career runs.

A $25,000 purchase at the 2021 Inglis Ready2Race sale as an early two-year-old, he has now earned just over $138,000 – with the promise of more to come.

Triple Group 1 winner Duais, who raced well in two Brisbane starts at the winter carnival, is scheduled to resume in the first Group 1 of the season, the $1m wfa Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

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