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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


Images: Bradley Photos

SUNDAY: July 30, 2023: MICK Attard sealed a record-breaking season for Hawkesbury trainers by preparing the track’s 200th winner today, at Muswellbrook.

Tommy Wong’s success with recent acquisition Deelbreaka ($2.40 favorite) at Newcastle yesterday edged the tally to 199, and Attard raised the bat for a double century when the much-travelled Crossfire Road ($9) also posted her first NSW victory, in the Benchmark 68 Handicap (1280m).

Coincidentally, both winners were online buys. Deelbreaka cost $11,000 in May, and Crossfire Road brought half that amount in February last year.

With Hawkesbury trainers cracking 200 winners for the first time ever in a single season, it has also been a season to savour for both Wong and Attard.

Deelbreaka was Wong’s eighth winner in 2022-23, his best ever result with a small stable, and similarly Crossfire Road was Attard’s fifth winner this season also with a small team, his best result since moving back to NSW and settling at Hawkesbury nearly four years ago.

A well-bred daughter of Sebring and the unraced So You Think mare Darling Road, Crossfire Road began her career in Victoria in late 2021 and early 2022 and had three unplaced starts for trainers Ben and JD Hayes before joining the Attard stable at Hawkesbury.

However, she did not initially race here.

“The floods arrived before we had a chance to race her, and my wife Sharon and myself decided to send her and another of our horses, Gypsy King, to our son Chris at Townsville,” Mick Attard explained before leaving Muswellbrook.

“It was a perfect opportunity to teach her to race.

“Chris quickly won two races with her at Townsville in April and May last year before she came back to us later in the year.

“Crossfire Road had been placed three times in six starts since coming home, and we went to Muswellbrook today pretty confident she would run well.

“Jean Van Overmeire gave her a great ride, and it was terrific to see her get another win.

“Crossfire Road hasn’t had a lot of racing, and that win will surely boost her confidence.

“All going well, we will have a crack at a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1300m) for five-year-olds and upwards at Warwick Farm on Wednesday week.”

Dundeel three-year-old Deelbreaka, a $100,000 yearling purchase, was put up for sale after only three starts in Queensland for co-trainers Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted; the latest when runner-up in a 1350m Ipswich Maiden on May 1.

Whilst his breakthrough victory over fellow Hawkesbury trainer Fabio Martin’s Mr Papera ($9) in a Provincial Maiden Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle at his fifth start for his new connections, more than repaid his purchase price, he has been a challenge for Wong.

“He had a very bad temperament when he came to us,” he said.

“It has been taking two people to hold him in the tie-up stalls.

“We have tried so many gear changes with him, including an off-side bubble cheeker leading up to the Newcastle race.

“Deelbreaka’s galloping action is still very high but he’s slowly improving, and I will probably try to win a Class 1 Handicap with him next run and then give him a spell.

“For the time being, I think he will manage up to 1600m and perhaps further next season.”

Wong currently has eight horses in work at Hawkesbury, and his eight winners from only 38 starters this season gives him an excellent 21.1 per cent strike rate.

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