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  • John Curtis


TUESDAY: July 27, 2021: HAWKESBURY trainers have a good rapport with Bathurst meetings – and that was no different today when Cowra stood in as the substitute fixture.

It mattered little that that the program was transferred from Bathurst as Matt Vella, Mitchell and Desiree Kearney, and Karen Outtrim all clinched victories.

And it could have been a whopper day for Hawkesbury with a bit more luck as Tara and Philippe Vigouroux had close seconds with Elenara ($5.50) and Lemaire ($8) at the corresponding Taree meeting.

Matt Vella’s victory with Maternal Gift at Cowra was important in more ways than one, whilst Team Kearney and Outtrim both claimed end of season winners.

Expatriate New Zealander Alysha Collett continued her outstanding season by scoring on two of the Hawkesbury horses (Maternal Gift and Team Kearney’s Jonjo’s Comet), whilst leading country jockey Mathew Cahill was aboard Outtrim’s Dragon’s Shadow.

Maternal Gift ($2.90) never looked in danger in easily taking the Maiden Handicap (1100m), providing her trainer with his ninth winner this season – his best ever result.

The daughter of Snitzel and American mare Street Secret was having her sixth start, and had been placed at Bathurst and Parkes in May.

“Job done,” Vella said this evening. “She may have only one more start before being retired to stud.

“Maternal Gift is a very well-bred mare and it was great to get that win with her for Sir Owen Glenn (Go Bloodstock Australia).”

Maternal Gift, a rising four-year-old, is the third foal of Street Secret. Her first foal, the now retired Frankely Awesome (by Frankel), was Group 1 placed in both the 2019 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and ATC Oaks (2400m) and won the Listed McKell Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens last year.

Team Kearney broke an exasperating run of minor placings when Jonjo’s Comet ($7) took the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1375m).

This was their seventh win of the season, and first since Magic Talent won at Goulburn in May.

Coincidentally, Jonjo’s Comet’s previous two victories were both at Bathurst – in July, 2019 and February this year.

“Jonjo’s Comet can be a bit hot and cold, but Alysha got the best out of him today,” Mitch Kearney said as he was about to leave Cowra for the three and a half hour journey home.

“Hopefully, our luck has changed and Carlisle Bay (who has been placed at five of his nine starts) can break through at Wyong on Thursday.”

Karen Outtrim notched her third win of the season when bargain buy Dragon’s Shadow, a $5000 purchase at the 2016 Inglis Ready2Race sale, took the Benchmark 66 Handicap (1700m) at $13.

It was the fifth win of his career, and Cahill has been aboard in his last three.

The Pendragon six-year-old was a $201 rank outsider when he won his first race, a 1500m Maiden, on his home track in August, 2017.

He was ridden by apprentice of the moment Brock Ryan, who rode a career best four winners at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday.

“Dragon’s Shadow had eight months off between the end of his last campaign at Canberra last October and his first run back when fourth at Hawkesbury in June,” Outtrim said.

“He was getting to a more suitable distance today, likes the wet and Mathew gave him a gun ride.”

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