FRIDAY: June 30, 2023: SUCH can be the life of a trainer, especially one doing his utmost to make his mark in the industry!
Hawkesbury’s Marc Chevalier was a winner at Moruya today, and created a “first” for himself in the process.
“It’s the first time I have ever left home for the races in the dark,” Chevalier said en route home as his wife Charlotte was driving.
“Because we had a runner in the first race just before midday, we left at 6 am.
“It’s been a long day, but worthwhile all the same and I’m sure we will both sleep well tonight.”
Whilst Chevalier’s first Moruya runner, the two-year-old Shal I Dance ($15), could finish only sixth to $2 favorite Super Norwest in the Maiden Handicap (1010m), but made nice ground in the run home at only his third start, The Neon Knight ($14) put a smile on the trainer’s face five races later.
Understandably so, as Chevalier was delighted to get the five-year-old mare into the winning list, in the Benchmark 66 Handicap (1010m), for the first time in more than two years.
The Neon Knight, a daughter of All Too Hard, won four races on end in late 2020 and early 2021 for her now retired Wyong trainer Jeff Englebrecht.
“She has been a challenge for sure,” Chevalier admitted.
“In fact, we nearly retired her after her first preparation for me last year when she was placed only twice (at Kembla Grange and Canberra) from eight starts.
“But we decided to give her a good break, and it was so nice to win with her today.”
Not even a riding switch could stand in the way of the mare gamely holding off Gorush Lightning ($17) and Continuum ($21) to post her fifth victory.
Chevalier had booked Jack Martin for the mount, but was advised last night by RacingNSW stewards that he was unable to fulfil his commitment, and Billy Owen replaced him.
“Billy did a good job on the mare,” Chevalier said. “I put a cross-over nose band on her at the start of this preparation because she was making a bit of noise in her work.
“The idea was to try to help her breathing, and she ran well when placed over 1000m at Muswellbrook earlier in the month and followed that up today.”
It’s been a ground-breaking season for Chevalier, who moved from Melbourne two years ago, and set up shop at Hawkesbury to launch his training career.
Today’s victory was his seventh in 2022-23, which has included his first provincial winner The Crimson Idol (who races in The Neon Knight colours for owner Dr Ulysses Crosson) last November, and a city breakthrough with Torrens in the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick the following month.’