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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: October 31, 2022: IT’S been a weekend Hawkesbury trainer Mike Van Gestel and his wife Louisa will long remember!

The couple was invited by the Australian Turf Club to Rosehill Gardens last Saturday to witness their son Marc finish his duties as RacingNSW chairman of stewards at the Golden Eagle meeting before leaving our shores to take up a similar role with Hong Kong Jockey Club.

To top it off, the Van Gestels won with “family horse” Titan Star at Muswellbrook yesterday.

“We were honoured to be invited to be part of Marc’s last day in Sydney with RacingNSW,” Mike Van Gestel said this morning.

“And we got the opportunity to watch Marc officiate at his last race, which we had never done before.

“We went into the stewards’ room after the race to watch how they go about their business, watching all the replays from every angle and making comments in the process.

“It was pretty special indeed.

“We are very proud of what Marc has achieved in his career, and know he will continue to do a wonderful job in Hong Kong.”

Mike Van Gestel is doing a pretty good job himself this season, having started the new season with a bang.

Titan Star was his fourth winner in the first three months of the 2022-23 racing year.

Something also to be proud of considering he has only two horses racing at present (Titan Star and No Statement) and an unraced three-year-old Wandjina filly named Run Chelsea, who is the first foal of the couple’s five-times winner Cheeky Bella.

Titan Star, a Rubick five-year-old, has already won three times this season (Canberra on August 19, Nowra on September 18 and again yesterday), and No Statement scored at Canberra on September 24.

Ridden by Zac Lloyd, Titan Star ($6) beat Keep Me Loyal ($9) and $2.90 favorite Nicator in yesterday’s Class 2 and above Benchmark 58 Handicap (1000m) at Muswellbrook.

The gelding has now five races and been placed 16 times, and earned nearly $160,000 (including a BOBS bonus).

As Mike Van Gestel continued his great start to the season, so too has the Hawkesbury stable of Randwick trainer John O’Shea.

The lightly-raced Saveadateforme made it two wins on end from only three starts with another excellent performance at yesterday’s Goulburn Cup Showcase meeting.

In all-Hawkesbury affair, Saveadateforme ($1.85 favorite) hurtled straight out of winning a 1400m Maiden at Kembla Grange on October 22 by bolting home from Brad Widdup pair Devil Racer ($19) and Mum’s The Boss ($3.90) in the Class 2 Handicap (1600m).

The Savabeel colt, a son of O’Reilly mare Dating (who won five races, including two Group 3s), fetched $220,000 when offered in Book 1 at the Karaka yearling sale in New Zealand last year.

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