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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: January 8, 2023: ALL’S well that ends well!

Hawkesbury trainer Mick Attard had to make a forced riding change at Queanbeyan yesterday before he could claim his first city winner this season.

Attard’s stable was the 21st from Hawkesbury to enjoy success this season, and former North Queensland mare Chyna Xpress was the 89th winner from the track since August 1.

Attard had booked Hawkesbury apprentice Qin Yong for the mount on Chyna Xpress in the Benchmark 50 Handicap (1200m) at the TAB fixture, but he was concussed from a tumble at trackwork on Friday morning and was unable to ride.

Whereas he would have claimed, non-claiming apprentice Damon Budler was his replacement – and played his part to secure victory.

Chyna Express ($5.50) drew the outside barrier, but was quickly upside challenging Rockbarton Pat for the lead before taking a sit just off that horse.

Budler moved the mare up approaching the home turn and once she took the lead on straightening, was never seriously challenged.

Chyna Xpress won comfortably to post her second success from 13 starts, defeating $2.80 favorite Shipway and Irish Bride ($4.80).

“Everything worked out well,” Attard said today.

“Chyna Xpress began her career in North Queensland with our son Chris, who is now working for Randwick trainer John O’Shea at his second stable at Hawkesbury.

“She won her maiden at only her second start in an open three-year-old handicap at Townsville in October, 2021.

“Queanbeyan was her fourth run for us since coming south, and I expected her to run well on her last start fifth in provincial company at Gosford when only two and a half lengths from the winner.”

A four-year-old daughter of Whittington, Chyna Xpress had been partnered by Qin Yong in all three NSW starts before yesterday under Attard’s care.

Attard, who sustained life-threatening injuries in a shocking stable accident on August 1, 2021 and has undergone a number of operations, says he is “getting better”.

He has had five placegetters since scoring with Borsalina at Hawkesbury in December, 2021.

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