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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: April 8, 2024: EDWARD Cummings has recalled Jason Collett in his bid to win Saturday’s $1m Provincial-Midway Championships Final at Royal Randwick.

The thrice Group 1 winning Hawkesbury trainer has booked seven-times Group 1 winner Collett for his talented four-year-old Strait Acer in the 1400m feature.

Collett added to his tally in majors on Manaal in last Saturday’s Sires (1400m) at Randwick on the opening day of The Championships; the filly also being his 88th winner of the season.

Collett had a successful association with Strait Acer last year, winning three city races in a row earlier this season.

They were Midway Benchmark Handicaps at Rosehill Gardens (1500m) on August 12 and Royal Randwick (1400m) on September 2, and a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1600m) at the latter track a fortnight later.

Collett hasn’t ridden Strait Acer in six subsequent starts, which included a second and fourth respectively in the Silver Eagle (1300m) at Randwick and the Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill, and third in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on November 18.

After a disappointing sixth to Territory Express in the opening PMC Qualifier (1400m) at Kembla Grange on February 29, the gelding bounced back to qualify for the Final with an outstanding second to fellow Hawkesbury trainer Brad’s Widdup’s Ausbred Flirt in the 1350m heat at Wyong on March 30.

He drew near the outside, came from 13th at the 400m and, after being the widest runner on the home turn, finished strongly to snatch second placing on the line and ensure a berth in the Final.

Strait Acer is currently an $8 fourth favorite with behind Tavi Time ($3), Territory Express ($4.50) and Shadows Of Love ($6).

Hawkesbury has four runners in the Final, with Widdup qualifying Ausbred Flirt, Short Shorts and Ruby Flyer (all winners of their respective Qualifiers).

Alysha Collett rides Ausbred Flirt, Doncaster Mile winning rider Tyler Schiller is on Short Shorts, and Melbourne’s Damian Lane rides Ruby Flyer.

Meanwhile, Phearson has pulled up well from his Doncaster run after working hard to lead from the outside barrier.

“He won the Group 3 Festival Stakes at 1500m at Rosehill in December, but finds it hard to get 1600m,” Widdup said.

“Phearson is definitely better suited around 1300m-1400m and a race like the Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at the Scone metropolitan meeting on May 18 is something we will look at.”

The Luskin Star has Listed race status, and is worth $200,000.

. The latest TAB market on the PMC Final is:

$3 Tavi Time

$4.50 Territory Express

$6 Shadows Of Love

$8 Strait Acer

$11 Ausbred Flirt

$15 Terra Mater, Willinga Beast

$26 Short Shorts, Willaidow, Willinga Freefall

$51 Ruby Flyer, Victory Lane

$101 Baltic Coast, Convincebility

$201 Nosey Parker


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