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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


WEDNESDAY: August 17, 2022: TWO of Sydney’s major stables between them have won 10 of the last 21 runnings of Hawkesbury’s Rowley Mile.

But Kembla Grange trainer Theresa Bateup is looking to upstage them when tomorrow’s renewal of one of Hawkesbury Race Club’s historic races is run.

Bateup takes on racing’s first lady Gai Waterhouse and her now training partner Adrian Bott and Sydney supremo Chris Waller with her stable star Monegal in the $185,000 Listed Pioneer Services Rowley Mile (1600m), and believes she has a real chance of taking centre stage.

With regular jockey Brock Ryan on the injured list, Regan Bayliss has his first ride for Bateup, who is surprised at the mare’s current odds ($34 with

“It’s not always easy to get a good jockey at the lighter weights for these feature races, and I was pleased to be able to book Regan, who rides well,” she said this morning.

“Whilst Brock has ridden Monegal a lot, she invariably performs well when a change of jockey is required.”

Bateup was pleasantly surprised when Monegal, a $3000 2017 Inglis Scone yearling bargain who has returned her ownership group nearly $700,000, received 54.5kg – only 0.5kg above the limit.

“I was expecting her to get around 57kg,” she said. “Monegal isn’t a big mare and thus isn’t a good weight carrier.

“She had 59kg at her last run when fourth to the favorite Hosier in the Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) on August 4, and Brock said it was the weight which anchored her over the closing stages.”

Five of Monegal’s 10 career victories have been at 1600m, and Bateup is not concerned that the mare has never raced at Hawkesbury in any of her 57 starts to date.

As well as her satisfaction with Monegal’s progress since the Coffs Harbour feature, she has also taken a line through the Rowley Mile weights compared with another recent Listed event, the Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 30, to give her mare a definite upset chance.

Waterhouse and Bott’s Rowley Mile favorite Cross Talk ($1.80) won the Winter Challenge and Waller’s $7 second favorite Oscar Zulu ran fourth (just ahead of Monegal), and now meet the mare 4.5kg and 4kg respectively on worse terms.

Bateup says her seven-year-old mare is continuing to enjoy her work and racing, and at this stage retirement is not on the agenda.

“Monegal is showing no signs that she is ready for retirement and is racing well, especially being in that competitive Listed and Group 3 level area,” she said.

“But she has done such an exceptional job for us that we would stop the minute she shows she has had enough.”

Waterhouse has won the Rowley Mile – first run in 1881 and named after one of two tracks at England’s Newmarket racecourse – on six occasions.

She scored with Adamantly (2001), Fiery Venture (2003), Beauty Watch (2007), Rabbuka (2008) and The Offer (2015) in her own right, and then with Bott, hotpot Arbeitsam in 2017.

The lightly-raced and promising five-year-old Cross Talk, who has won five of his seven starts and is chasing a hat-trick tomorrow, is their sole Mile representative. Tim Clark, who also rode Arbeitsam, has the mount.

Waller’s four winners – the last three two years apart – were Snow Alert (2010), McCreery (2016), Mister Sea Wolf (2018) and Savacool (2020).

He had 12 of the original 20 nominations for tomorrow’s race, and has six of the 11 acceptors.

As well as Oscar Zulu (Hugh Bowman), his runners are Skyman (James McDonald), Our Intrigue (William Pike), Durston (Kerrin McEvoy), Mubariz (Tom Sherry), and Welsh Legend (Jay Ford).

English import Durston, a first-up seventh to Cross Talk in the Winter Challenge at both his first run for the Waller stable and since scoring over 2000m at Caulfield last October, has a gear change.

He will wear ear muffs to the barrier, where they will be removed. His rider McEvoy won the 2014 Rowley Mile for his uncle Tony McEvoy, who then had a satellite stable at Hawkesbury.

. Tomorrow’s meeting is the first of the 2022-23 Provincial Showcase meetings (with one to be held at each of the five clubs), , carrying prizemoney of $50,000 for all supporting races.

. Course manager Rick Johnston this morning posted a “Good 4” rating, with the rail back in the TRUE position for the entire circuit.

Hawkesbury has recorded only 5mm of rain in the past week, and none of that small total in the past 24 hours.

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