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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis



THURSDAY: June 8, 2023: HAWKESBURY’S Edward Cummings says there is “a lot to like” about his multiple Group 1 winner Duais as she chases another feature at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Coming off the back of an excellent first-up fourth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) last month, the classy mare lines up in the $1.2m Group 2 The Q22 (2200m).

Duais had not raced since failing in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1, and it was later discovered she had been carrying an injury and subsequently underwent surgery for a chipped bone in her off fore fetlock.

Cummings brought the mare back to his Hawkesbury stable after the Doomben Cup, and she has just returned to Brisbane for Saturday’s assignment.

Duais goes back to the scene of her brilliant 2021 Group 1 Queensland Oaks victory over The Q22 course when she trounced her rivals.

“The three weeks between runs has been perfect for her,” Cummings said today in a radio interview.

“She has gone ahead since the Cup, and hopefully Melbourne last spring will be a distant memory.

“Duais has that glint in her eye again, and there’s a lot to like about her with Sam (Clipperton) back on, and from a good draw.”

Duais will have a short break after The Q22 before being prepared for a spring campaign.

Cummings, who has trained 10 winners since this season, finished second at Canterbury yesterday with stablemate Queenmaker, who was brave in defeat as she attempted to post a hat-trick.

. Randwick trainer John O’Shea’s success from his second stable at Hawkesbury with Gorgeous Zara at Gosford today was the 176th so far this season for Hawkesbury trainers.

A $200,000 yearling purchase at the Gold Coast in 2020, Gorgeous Zara ($3.60 favorite) did a good job to take the Benchmark 64 Handicap (2600m) in a tight finish from Insider Trader ($5.50) and Reliable Dude ($3.70).

It was the Almanzor filly’s second win from her last three starts – and most certainly it should have been a hat-trick.

After breaking through at Newcastle on May 4 in an 1850m Maiden Plate, Gorgeous Zara was desperately unlucky when narrowly beaten by Funambulist in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (2100m) on her home track a fortnight later when she figured prominently in the stewards’ report.

Nothing much went right again today when she began awkwardly, was disappointed for a run near the 300m and then was held up until passing the 200m when apprentice Tyler Schiller switched her back to the inside of Reliable Dude – and she responded bravely to get there in time.

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