WEDNESDAY: September 28, 2022: HAWKESBURY is the sole provincial track at which success has so far eluded Gosford trainer Adam Duggan.
But he is keen to remedy that situation tomorrow with a much travelled lightly-raced horse who came to him out of the blue.
Six-year-old Diamond Diesel, a “veteran” of five starts, tackles the Jacobs Creek Market Hall Midway Benchmark 68 Handicap (1500m), and is a $2.80 favorite with TAB.com.au.
Duggan’s good mate and his most successful rider Josh Parr partners the gelding for the first time before he heads to Melbourne to continue a successful association with Hawkesbury’s triple Group 1 winner Duais in the $1m Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Duggan has had only a dozen or so starters at Hawkesbury for three placings; his latest runner being Miss Fox on April 13 when a close sixth to Garrison in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).
“I’m very much aware that I’m yet to get a winner at Hawkesbury,” Duggan said this morning,
“It’s one of those tracks where I haven’t had any luck, and Miss Fox didn’t have much luck that day either.
“To be fair, I haven’t gone to Hawkesbury before with many good chances, and I feel Diamond Diesel is probably the best I have taken there.
“He is going really well, so hopefully it will be a different story after tomorrow’s race.”
Diamond Diesel, a son of noted wet track sire Mossman, was a $65,000 purchase for Hawkes Racing (who also trained his dam, the Big Brown mare Malacca Cane, for her three career starts) at the 2018 Inglis Classic yearling sale.
He won a 900m Rosehill Gardens trial for three-year-olds in January, 2020 and was subsequently sent to Hong Kong, where he finished seventh over 1200m at Sha Tin in June last year at his only appearance there.
Diamond Diesel is raced by Derek Tam and Peter Coffey, who now have another ex-Hong Kong sprinter Joyful Fortune lining up in the $15m The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 15 for trainer Mark Newnham.
It was Newnham who was responsible for Diamond Diesel joining Duggan’s Gosford team.
Diamond Diesel suffered a stress fracture to a shoulder in Hong Kong, and his owners brought him back to Australia.
“They had a number of horses at a property at Kulnura not far from me, and Mark rang and asked if I was interested in training a couple as he didn’t have room for all of them,” Duggan explained.
“I went and had a look at the horses (Joyful Fortune wasn’t one, and he was always going to Mark in any case) and I liked the look of Diamond Diesel.
“Derek is Hong Kong based and Peter is from Sydney. They are great guys and it a pleasure to train for them.
“The other horse I have for Derek and Peter is Wonder Brahma, who, after two placings, won a 1312m Maiden at Taree on September 13 at his third start for me.”
Diamond Diesel won his first two starts for Duggan at Gosford (1100m Maiden Plate on July 23) and Newcastle (1200m Benchmark 64 Handicap on August 11); both on heavy tracks – conditions which he is likely to again encounter.
He then stepped up to Midway Handicaps in town, finishing 10th at Rosehill Gardens in a 1300m Benchmark 72 Handicap on August 27 before an excellent third to Mahagoni in another Benchmark 72 (this time at 1600m) at Randwick on September 17.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all with his Rosehill defeat as he drew the rails barrier and was on the worst section of the track in the straight, and didn’t really get a chance to stretch out over the last 200m,” Duggan said.
“Diamond Diesel ran well subsequently at Randwick going to 1600m, drops back to provincial company tomorrow and comes back 100m and will run the 1500m out strongly.
“I’m expecting him to be hard to beat.”
Rachel King, a previous Hawkesbury jockeys’ premiership winner, is the early front-runner this season with four winners already.
She has five bookings on the nine-race card and opposes Diamond Diesel on the Wyong-trained Oakfield Storm ($5.50).
Oakfield Storm, successful at two of his six starts to date, hasn’t raced since mid-July and has trialled twice earlier this month in preparation for his return.
King also partners Ready’s Girl ($41) for Oakfield Storm’s trainer Kristen Buchanan in the Seppelt Wines F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m), along with Kai Tak ($4.40 favorite) and Sinaloa ($3.40 second favorite) for Bjorn Baker, and Tenderize ($41) for fellow Warwick Farm mentor Gary Portelli.
Hawkesbury trainer Brooke Somers has opted to run dual acceptor Dream Eclipse (Jean Van Overmeire) in Diamond Diesel’s race.
She has withdrawn the last start Nowra placegetter from the Independent Liquor Group CG&E Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m).
. Hawkesbury this morning was rated a “Heavy 8” following 48mm of rain in the past week, 15mm of it in the last 24 hours.
The rail is out 2m from 1100m to the 600m, 4m from 600m to the winning post, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit.