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  • John Curtis


TUESDAY: November 9, 2021: NATHAN Doyle has his fingers crossed there is no more rain to ensure tomorrow’s midweek meeting at Hawkesbury goes ahead.

The reason? He has a real mudlark in Unwavering Faith, the early favorite for the Lander Toyota Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (2000m).

Lee Magorrian will partner Unwavering Faith, on whom he has had three rides so far for two wins and a close second.

“She is an absolute swimmer and the track is already a Heavy 10, so I am hoping they can race tomorrow,” the Newcastle mentor said this morning.

RacingNSW stewards will inspect Hawkesbury at 6am tomorrow to determine the fate of the program following 88mm of rain in the past seven days.

Unwavering Faith has won four of her 10 starts – and three have been on wet ground; two of them on heavy tracks.

Doyle is having a tremendous start to the season, having prepared 16 winners already in the first three months on top of his personal best 38 last season.

Whilst Unwavering Faith is out of the now deceased Dash For Cash mare Epic Faith, she could not be better named in view of the fact her trainer has certainly had unwavering faith in the now four-year-old daughter of Sebring.

“She was passed in at the 2019 Magic Millions National Yearling Book in 2019, and her owner Matthew Sandblom asked if I would like to lease her,” Doyle explained.

“Unwavering Faith was one of the first horses I had when I started training again at Scone before relocating to Newcastle.

“But she showed nothing. We gave her seven or eight preparations before she finally went to the races earlier this year.

“I kept persevering because she was too nice a filly and too athletic not to be able to gallop.

“She just needed time.”

Not only is Unwavering Faith showing the ability Doyle hoped she had, but she is relishing getting out over a distance.

At her last start, she won the Cessnock Cup (2100m) on Newcastle’s Beaumont (inside) track on October 25, showing her versatility by scoring on a good surface.

Doyle has three Hawkesbury acceptors, but is likely to keep Prospero (Irresistible Pools & Spas Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1500m) for his hometown The Hunter meeting on Saturday.

His other representative is Members Only in the Blakes Marine Class 1 Handicap (1100m).

The lightly-raced four-year-old resumes on the back of two recent trials and following disappointing performances at his last two runs after showing plenty of promise at his first two starts.

Members Only on debut ran second to Calgary Queen in a 1200m Maiden at Newcastle on February 20 before breaking through over 1400m there in early March.

“He then failed to finish the race at Gosford at his next run and, after a trial, went back to the races but weakened badly in a Class 2 at the Scone Cup carnival in May,” Doyle said.

“The vets could find nothing amiss, so we tipped him out.

“He doesn’t show a lot in his work, and it will be interesting see how he shapes up under race conditions tomorrow.

“I’ve decided to put a tongue tie on him as he sucks his tongue, so hopefully that puts a stop to that.”

Recent Hawkesbury winner Dehorned Unicorn is also an acceptor in Members Only’s race, but is scheduled to line up in the last race at Gosford today.

Doyle is also looking forward to starting lightly-raced youngster Lord Of The Hunter in Saturday’s Max Lees Classic (900m) at Newcastle, and has booked Melbourne Cup winning jockey James McDonald.

The Lord Of The Sky colt was narrowly beaten on debut in a 2YO Maiden (900m) at Muswellbrook on October 31 after winning a Newcastle trial 18 days earlier.

“Lord Of The Hunter missed a race at Canterbury when there only four acceptors, and I knew he would take improvement from the Muswellbrook race,” Doyle said.

“He has worked well since.”

Dual Hawkesbury acceptor Nitride has been withdrawn from the St Johns Park Bowling Club Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m).

Scone trainer Lou Mary has opted to run the gelding in the 1500m Benchmark 64 Handicap, where he has 60.5kg topweight. Rory Hutchings will ride him.

Newcastle four-year-old Five Crowns (apprentice Dylan Gibbons) dominates betting on this race as he chases a hat-trick, having won both his starts so far at Muswellbrook and on the Beaumont track.

. The rail is in the TRUE position for tomorrow’s meeting, and a “Heavy 10” is the current rating.

. Paul Joice’s selections are:

RACE 1: AUREUS ANGEL, Viennoiserie, Hypnosis.

RACE 2: CRITICAL TIME, Strombus, Yagoona.

RACE 3: CARARTIE, Too Much Lippy, Sally Jean.

RACE 4: MEMBERS ONLY, Dehorned Unicorn, Wardaddy.

RACE 5: FIVE CROWNS, Dynasties, Prospero.

RACE 6: UNWAVERING FAITH, Tea Leaves, Atonement.

RACE 7: YUMI, Soarhi, Remus.


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