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  • John Curtis


SATURDAY: November 13, 2021: YOU couldn’t blame Mitch and Desiree Kearney if they named their stables “Heza Gentleman Lodge”!

The Hawkesbury husband and wife training partnership has won three city races – and all have been with Heza Gentleman.

The Nicconi five-year-old again showed his liking for wet ground when he led throughout to beat his four rivals in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury Park last night.

With 3kg claimer Tyler Schiller aboard, Heza Gentleman ($5) made the most of both the soft track and his light weight (52.5kg) to defeat fellow Hawkesbury representative, Claire Lever’s Highly Desired ($3.30), to post the fifth win of his career.

Four of them have been on either soft or heavy tracks.

In the process, he debunked the theory that he was simply a “ladies’ man”, having been ridden by females in his first four victories.

The Kearney’s then apprentice Zoe Connally broke through on him at a Mudgee non-TAB meeting in October 2019, and in subsequent wins by apprentice Cejay Graham in his first city success at Warwick Farm in August last year, senior jockey Winona Costin at Dubbo on August 8 this year and another apprentice, Ellen Hennessy, on the Kensington track 13 days later.

“I don’t know why Heza Gentleman is good in the wet, but he certainly relishes it,” Mitch Kearney said today.

“As he had between 3kg and 4.5kg less than his rivals, our plan was to take advantage of that and make the others try to catch him.

“Heza Gentleman has been a wonderful horse to us indeed and kept the stable flag flying high.”

Ironically, Heza Gentleman’s dam, the American-bred mare Silk Spun, who was Mitch Kearney’s first winner (at Hawkesbury in July, 2014) when training solo, was on a “Firm 2” surface.

Kearney explained that naming Heza Gentleman was easy – and the gelding is certainly living up to it!

“When we broke him in, it was as though he had been broken in before as it was so easy,” Kearney said.

“I mentioned to syndicate manager Peter Donaldson that he was a gentleman, and he came back to me later and thought Heza Gentleman was a perfect name.

“And he is such a lovely horse to train.”

The Kearneys, who have won four races this season, have a couple of options with Heza Gentleman in the coming weeks as they seek to add to his record.

“We could look at one of the heats of the Provincial Summer Series as the final is worth $150,000,” Mitch Kearney said.

“But as those races are Class 5 Plates, he is going to get plenty of weight, so perhaps a Midway Handicap in town might be a better alternative.”

Whichever way Team Kearney decide to go, it’s a sure bet the couple will be hoping for another wet track as well.

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