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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: November 20, 2022: WHAT’S in a purchase price?

One cost $5000 and the other $400,000, but it made no difference as Hawkesbury stables clinched a winning double at Gosford yesterday.

Husband and wife trainers Mitch and Desiree Kearney made it three victories for the season when weanling “cheapie” Redente Choice ($17) landed the Class 1 Handicap (1200m), and Randwick trainer Michael Freedman’s second stable at Hawkesbury continued its great run, taking the Maiden Handicap (1200m) with Ponca ($4.40 favorite).

Keagan Latham joined in the Hawkesbury double by riding both horses.

Owner Tom Smith paid $5000 for now four-year-old Redente Choice as a 2019 Inglis Great Southern weanling, whilst American Pharoah filly Ponca fetched $395,000 extra when offered at last year’s Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale.

“It was nice to get the monkey off our back,” co-trainer Desiree Kearney said today, referring to a lean period since Lady Shenanigans won two races for the couple in August at Quirindi and Gilgandra.

Redente Choice has had a number of trainers, and won a Wagga Maiden Plate (1200m) on debut in January for Kembla Grange trainer Theresa Bateup.

The gelding was having his 10th start yesterday for Team Kearney, and the couple understandably was pleased to get a breakthrough with him for best friends Smith and Allan Hudson.

“Nothing much has gone right for Redente Choice since he ran second at Hawkesbury in September,” Desiree Kearney said.

“We had a good barrier and a good jockey yesterday, and everything worked out really well.

“Even though Redente Choice won his Maiden on a very heavy track, we feel he is best on firmer ground.

“He has never seemed all that comfortable on wet tracks.”

Winning rider Latham allowed Redente Choice time to find his feet, saved ground by staying near the inside approaching the home turn, and then found a gap in the straight a few horses away from the fence.

Redente Choice finished doggedly to nab Oxford Vision ($6.50) and Single Touch ($26), boosting his earnings to just over $50,000.

Whilst Lady Shenanigans has just returned to the stable from a break, unfortunately last season’s Canterbury night season star Heza Gentleman (who won three in a row last November and December) won’t be figuring this time.

“He suffered an injury and will be out for six months,” Desiree Kearney said. “Hopefully we will get him back next year.”

Michael Freedman’s Hawkesbury stable is certainly on a roll with four winners in the last week.

A double at Bathurst yesterday week with Tee Cee Tiger and Pagato was followed by Titled Tycoon scoring on his home track last Thursday, and then lightly-raced filly Ponca shed her maiden status yesterday.

Freedman has now prepared six winners this season from his Hawkesbury base.

A daughter of American-bred mare Forest Native (who has been retired from breeding), Ponca was having only her fifth start – and her second this preparation - in the 1200m Maiden against her own sex.

She had given notice a breakthrough wasn’t far away when runner-up to Felix Majestic in an 1100m Maiden Plate (1100m) on her home track on November 3.

Ponca finished gamely yesterday to overhaul Mount Warning ($9) and Not That Easy ($7) to get her career underway successfully.

She is a younger half-sister to Group 1 winner and successful sire Foxwedge (by Fastnet Rock).

. The Gosford double boosted to 59 the number of winners trained out of Hawkesbury so far this season.

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