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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: August 7, 2023: HAWKESBURY trainer Wayne Austin rarely has two runners at the same meeting, let alone land a winning double.

He has the former when his home track begins a new season tomorrow and, understandably, is hoping to celebrate the latter.

Austin, who has his own business pre-training, breaking in, assisting with injury rehab and doing behavioural work with horses under his Austral Thoroughbreds banner, will take Dancemania (Irresistible Pools & Spas Class 1 Handicap, 1500m) and Jabali Belle (Dianne Lanham Memorial Provincial Class 1 Handicap, 1300m) to the races.

It’s the first time since December 15, 2019 he will have dual representation at the same meeting – and it was also at Hawkesbury on that occasion.

Dancemania, an $800 online buy in May as an unraced three-year-old for Austin and his wife Penny after initially fetching $210,000 as a 2021 Magic Millions yearling, broke through in a Gosford Maiden Plate (1600m) on July 22, lifting his earnings to $37,075 (including a BOBS bonus).

Jabali Belle, which the Austins race in partnership with her breeders, the Moore family, was a first-up winner on her home track and two of her subsequent three defeats have been in town.

Rory Hutchings goes back on to now four-year-old Dancemania ($3.60 second favorite with, whilst Kathy O’Hara again partners Jabali Belle ($19), whom she partnered in her May 18 victory at Hawkesbury.

“With our business, I don’t keep more than half a dozen horses in work,” Austin, who began training seven years ago, said this morning.

“It would be nice of course to get a double with both horses, and they are going there in good order.”

Austin is pleased with Dancemania’s progress since his Gosford triumph for Alysha Collett, and welcomes Hutchings back on board.

“Rory was on Dancemania in his first three runs for us when fifth, second and fourth, and also went out of his way a few times to come from Wyong and ride him work,” Austin explained.

“He rode in the Highway Plate at Rosehill the same day our horse won at Gosford, so it was only fair to put him back on.”

Dancemania carried 58.5kg at Gosford, and has the same weight tomorrow as he steps up to Class 1 company.

Austin says there were excuses for Jabali Belle’s last two defeats after a midweek 1100m Canterbury fifth to Petulant (who has since two twice) on June 7, which followed her resumption Maiden Plate success over the same distance at home the previous month.

“I should not have started her at Warwick Farm (June 28); the wet track conditions didn’t suit her,” he said.

“It wasn’t raining when we left home.

“Then when she last raced at Kembla Grange (July 20), Kathy (O’Hara) was concerned with the mare’s action and eased up on her over the last 200m.

“Jabali Belle was mildly lame in the near fore fetlock, but was subsequently treated and has been cleared to race again.

“She was very keen when Alex Lemaire rode her in her last piece of work, and is ready to go back to the races.”

Wyong trainer Kristen Buchanan, who won her local premiership last season with a benchmark 37 winners in 2022-23, also has two runners at Hawkesbury.

She has taken over the training of Gulf Of Tomini, who contests the Fowler Civil Contracting Benchmark 64 Handicap (1800m), and will be ridden by Lee Magorrian.

The former Northern Rivers five-year-old is a $7 chance (it’s $4.40 the field), and will race in a tongue tie.

Buchanan also starts Broadway Bouncer (Jason Collett), the $3.10 favorite in Jabali Belle’s race.

The Kermadec three-year-old, at only his second start and first since debuting at Hawkesbury in February, won a Newcastle Maiden Plate (1200m) on July 25.

. The rail is out 4m from the 1100m to the 450m, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. Racecourse manager Kyle Cassim this morning posted a “Soft 5” rating, with a penetrometer reading of 5.23.

Hawkesbury has recorded only 3mm of rain in the past week, but nothing in the last 24 hours.

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