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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: June 30, 2022: THREE local stables all enjoying breakout seasons contributed at home today to boost the number of winners trained out of the provincial track this season to 160.

Edward Cummings, Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard and Brad Widdup each won a race at the penultimate meeting of the 2021-22 racing year.

Cummings landed the Maiden Plate (1800m) with Queenmaker ($3.90), Team Attard the Living Turf Maiden Plate (1000m) with Notifies ($6.50), and Widdup the Lander Toyota Class 1 Handicap (1300m) with The Himalayas ($2.60 favorite).

Cummings has now won 17 races this season compared with 13 last season, Team Attard has more than doubled the number from three to seven, and Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Widdup, after winning 36 races last season, has shot to 57.

Whilst Cummings is happy with his results so far, which of course include two Group 1 triumphs with his star mare Duais (who has been back in the stable for a fortnight), he would like to increase that number to 20 before the season closes on July 31.

“That’s the number of stables I have, and it would be even nicer to get to that figure in the next month,” he said this evening.

Perhaps one of those will come from Queenmaker if he decides to keep her in work.

Cummings says he “stole” the Tavistock filly when he purchased her for $35,000 at the 2020 Inglis Classic yearling sale.

“Queenmaker is from a great family, and is closely related to Anamato (who won multiple black type races, including the 2007 Group 1 Adelaide Oaks).

“I had hoped to get her into the Queensland Oaks, but things didn’t work out.”

Cummings brought the three-year-old back home after an out of character failure in a midweek Doomben Benchmark 65 Handicap (2040m) on June 1.

“I gave her time to get over that run and the trip home, and wanted to be sure she was ready to go back to the races today without a trial in between,” he said.

“Though we missed out on the Queensland Oaks, at least we achieved our aim of breaking her maiden status before she ended her three-year-old season.”

Team Attard’s winner Notifies did not reach her reserve at the recent Magic Millions National Broodmare sale at the Gold Coast – and the husband and wife training duo was pleased about that.

“She is one of my babies, and a real favorite,” Lucy Keegan-Attard said. “Notifies is a bonny filly who has a big heart and gives 150 per cent with everything you ask of her.

“Having raced only twice, we’re sure she will continue to improve and appears to have a bright future.”

When Notifies was passed in at $17,500 ($12,500 short of her reserve price) at the Gold Coast sale in late May, she came back to the Attards and ran second on debut to Wonderwomen (who won again today) at Hawkesbury on June 12.

The Press Statement filly followed that by breaking through today, giving Team Attard its second winner in six days, having scored with Sovereign Express at Newcastle last Saturday.

“It’s great to get these two wins this week, and we couldn’t do it without the support of our hard-working staff,” Lucy Keegan-Attard said.

And the couple is hoping to keep the run going with Knight (Keagan Latham) in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Though the gelding has drawn awkwardly, it may not prove a disadvantage given the wet weather forecast.

Brad Widdup is adamant The Himalayas is a much better racing proposition now that he has been gelded, and just as adamant he can make his mark in town.

“He needed to be gelded, and it has made such a difference,” Widdup said.

“I have liked him all along, and feel sure he will eventually manage up to 1600m.”

Since being gelded after his first two starts, the Zoustar three-year-old, a $140,000 Adelaide yearling purchase, has been successful at both appearances.

After scoring impressively when resuming at home on June 12, he comfortably made the transition to Class 1 company today.

With Jean Van Overmeire serving a suspension, Hugh Bowman took over on The Himalayas and gave him a perfect run in transit before he burst clear over the closing stages to put his seal on the race.

Widdup considers The Himalayas is ready to be tested in town over a longer trip than today’s 1300m, and is eyeing a 3YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1500m) at Royal Randwick on July 23.

This was the trainer’s eight winner in the last two and a half weeks, shooting him well past his previous 51 winners in his first full season of training in 2017-18.

. Rachel King’s victory on Adios Steve in the HRC Motel Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) lifted her to equal jockeys’ premiership leader with Tommy Berry on 16 wins apiece, whilst James Cummings (13 wins) edged to one win behind Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in the trainers’ premiership when Affidavit took the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Aust Maiden Plate (1300m).

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