FRIDAY: June 9, 2023: KRISTEN Buchanan has a return trip booked from Brisbane to saddle stable newcomer Epicus as he chases a second win for her at Hawkesbury on Sunday.
But no one will blame the Wyong trainer if she misses the Sunday morning flight should Chevron provide her with a Group 1 breakthrough at Eagle Farm tomorrow.
Having had only three runners before at racing’s elite level, Buchanan is confident $26 chance Chevron will relish the 1600m of the JJ Atkins Stakes, and just as confident Epicus will run well again in the Midway Class 1 Handicap (1300m) at Hawkesbury’s Sunday Session meeting.
Coincidentally, both young horses fetched $40,000 at different sales.
Buchanan paid that amount for Spieth two-year-old Chevron at the 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale, whilst Calibre Racing secured Capitalist three-year-old Epicus online in April from the stable of Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller.
A Group 1 success is always special for any trainer – but it will be extra special for Buchanan if Chevron lands the JJ Atkins.
“I bought this colt as a yearling with the purpose of getting him ready to breeze up as an early two-year-old and sell at the Inglis Ready2Race sale in Sydney last October,” she explained this morning en route to the airport to fly north.
”However, he didn’t bring the amount we were hoping to get and knowing he had ability, I decided to take him home.
“Trilogy Racing (for whom Buchanan won the $200,000 Wellington Boot with Capitalist filly Everlong in March) is a great supporter of my stable, and helped me out to ensure I kept training him.”
Chevron was runner-up at Canterbury in February and again narrowly beaten in the Inglis 2YO Challenge (1100m) at Scone on May 12 before finishing eighth (beaten only two lengths) to Cifrado from an outside barrier in the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago.
“Craig Williams rode him in the Sires, and I booked him immediately afterwards for tomorrow’s race,” Buchanan said.
“It’s great to have such a top jockey on Chevron again for a Group 1. We have drawn awkwardly once more, but I’m not worried about that as we will ride him cold again.
“I’m sure that he will appreciate the extra 200m.
“I have a flight booked on Sunday morning to return home and saddle Epicus at Hawkesbury, but also a back-up plan in the event we’re celebrating a Group 1 victory.”
Buchanan is pleased with the progress of Epicus, who easily won a Gosford Provincial Maiden (1200m) on May 25 at only his sixth start – and second for his new trainer.
“Calibre Racing Group is a new syndicator which was founded only two years ago and a new client as well, and I’m delighted to be training Epicus for them,” she said.
“He has trained on well since winning at Gosford, and Lee Magorrian, who rode him that day, is with him again at Hawkesbury.”
Epicus carried 57kg at Gosford, and rises 2kg tomorrow, and seems over the odds at his current $10 with TAB.com.au.
Buchanan has trained 28 winners so far this season, not far short of her 34 in the previous racing year.
Interestingly, a horse who was runner-up to Epicus at Gosford recently is one of leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup’s four good chances at his home track fixture.
That is lightly-raced Frankel three-year-old Harry Tudor (XXXX Gold Provincial Maiden Handicap, 1300m), who at his first start since joining Widdup’s team, was a well-backed favorite.
Jean Van Overmeire rides Harry Tudor, currently a $5 second favorite behind another Hawkesbury representative, Ed O’Rourke’s Highway Patrol ($4.40), who won both his trials at home last month and was withdrawn from a Dubbo engagement today.
Van Overmeire also partners $2.40 favorite Queen Astrid, placed at her last two starts, in the Workers Lifestyle Group Maiden Handicap (1500m) for Widdup, along with Mr Bond ($8), who gets to a more suitable 1800m of the Richmond Club Benchmark 64 Handicap at his second run back from a spell.
Koby Jennings again rides Widdup’s other strong hope; his last start Newcastle winner Akaka Falls ($4 favorite) in the Lander Toyota Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m).
Widdup brought Akaka Falls back to 900m in a similar class race at Newcastle on May 20 and, with blinkers on, steamed past his rivals.
He rises 2kg and the form was confirmed when runner-up Fire and Ice scored easily at Wyong in a Benchmark 68 (1100m) on June 1.
. The rail is 2m out from the 1100m to 450m for Sunday’s meeting, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. A “Soft 5” rating was posted this morning after only 2mm of rain was recorded in the last 24 hours.