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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: December 1, 2023: HAWKESBURY trainer Wayne Austin was entitled to be “over the moon” with his success at Gosford yesterday.

Austin could not have found a better way to finish the calendar year, clinching a breakthrough victory with a mare he purchased for only $4000.

Having her eighth start, Promise The Moon ($6.50) convincingly took the Maiden Plate (1600m) by more than two lengths from fancied pair and dead-heaters Nullify ($3.30 favorite) and Dash Dash Dash ($4).

Austin, who has only a handful of horses in work, was back in the winning list for the first time since Talladega Knight scored at Taree in July, 2021.

“I also pre-train horses and look after others when they require post veterinary care,” he said today.

“Promise The Moon was the only yearling I bought for us at the 2021 Scone yearling sale.

“It was the first time that annual sale was held at Inglis’ Riverside property at Warwick Farm.

“I bought her on type. She was athletic and well balanced and, of course, the price also was important.”

Promise The Moon is one of the last foals of her dam, the Dolphin Street mare In A Nutshell, who died in October, 2020.

The four-year-old mare’s year younger sister Omians is in work with former Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton at Scone, and is yet to race.

Austin didn’t push Promise The Moon early and she didn’t begin her career until March last year when a close and unlucky sixth in a 1000m Maiden at Orange, which was followed by a second placing on her home track the following month.

The daughter of Odyssey Moon obviously has been ridden in all eight starts by females.

“Rachael Murray rode her at Orange at her first start, and Kathy O’Hara and Alysha Collett have ridden her since,” Austin said.

“And Kathy’s sister Tracy O’Hara rides Promise The Moon in all her work.

“Alysha gave her a great ride at Gosford yesterday, and it was terrific to see the mare break through.

“Promise The Moon was strong to the line, so hopefully she can win again soon.”

Promise The Moon’s Gosford triumph boosted her earnings to just over $37,000 – a nice return on her purchase price.

. Austin was the 20th Hawkesbury trainer to enter the winning list so far this season, with 84 winners coming out of the track in the first five months of the 2022-23 racing year.

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