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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: February 11, 2024: LIKE mother, like son!

Hawkesbury trainer Terry Croft’s Royal Bombardier ($4.60) scorched over the 900m at Newcastle yesterday in the 3YO & Up Maiden Plate, emulating his dam Royal Hootenanny who won twice over the same trip, including the Hurricane Stakes at the 2018 Newcastle spring carnival.

Jockey Jean Van Overmeire flew the gates on the three-year-old colt, and he never looked likely to be beaten.

Royal Bombardier defeated $41 outsiders Sizzling Boy and Beersmadefromwater, breaking through at his fifth start, and first since October last year.

Sooboog colt Royal Bombardier is the first foal of Royal Hootenanny, who won five races in Queensland before being transferred to Garry White at Hawkesbury.

He didn’t waste any time getting results, winning three of her first four NSW starts.

A Hidden Dragon mare, Royal Hootenanny won a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1000m) first-up at Hawkesbury in August, 2018, and then a Benchmark 70 Handicap (900m) at Newcastle nine days later.

After a Warwick Farm third, she won the Hurricane at $12, defeating Puppet Master and Just a Bullet.

“Garry recommended the owners send Royal Bombardier to me, and he is a nice horse,” Croft said today.

“He ran well against better opposition at his first campaign, and I’ve always had a bit of an opinion of him.

“I gave him the one 800m trial, which he won at home, on February 1, and was pretty confident he would be hard to beat yesterday.”

Whilst there were two late scratchings, including the favorite Well Timed, Croft maintained his horse would still have taken some beating.

“I thought the favorite was the one we had to beat, but the way Royal Bombardier went, I don’t think he would have beaten us had he started.”

Whilst Croft had a long wait between his first winner of the season (Just A Brother in the Forbes Cup last August) and his second (Starros) at Bathurst eight days ago, there was no such length of time to notch his third.

And he considers the colt has the capacity to measure up in better races.

“I’m sure he is not simply a 900m horse,” Croft said. “He has definitely improved from his first preparation.”

Croft’s victory with Royal Bombadier and later fellow trainer Brad Widdup’s success with Dawla took the Hawkesbury base’s number of winners so far this season to 90.

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