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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: August 8, 2021: IT should be no surprise that Heza Gentleman has a penchant for the ladies!

All the Hawkesbury five-year-old’s three wins, including his latest at Dubbo today, have been with the “fairer sex” in the saddle.

Heza Gentleman capped his recent consistent form by breaking back into the winning list, snatching a last-gasp victory in the Dubbo Cup Prelude (1420m) and thus guaranteeing a start in the $100,00 Dubbo Gold Cup Showcase (1600m) on September 12.

“He definitely seems to go better for the girls,” Mitch Kearney enthused early this evening as he and his co-trainer wife Desiree were about to embark on the return trip to Hawkesbury.

“Even Jean Van Overmeire mentioned the other day (after he had run fourth at Wyong on July 20) that he doesn’t go as well for him even though he has been placed on him.”

The Wyong run was Heza Gentleman’s only unplaced performance in his last six starts, which included four seconds.

He was ridden in three of those seconds by females; twice by Alysha Collett and then by apprentice Ellen Hennessy when third on the Kensington track on July 28 behind Matowatakpe, who won again at Royal Randwick yesterday.

Team Kearney’s then apprentice Zoe Connally rode the gelding in his first win at Mudgee in October 2019, and another apprentice Cejay Graham partnered him when successful at $31 in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) at Warwick Farm on August 12 last year, giving the couple their first city winner as a partnership.

Senior jockey Winona Costin was aboard today when Heza Gentleman ($4.40) prevailed narrowly in a thrilling three-way finish to the Cup Prelude.

He stuck his head out right on the line to edge out $19 chance The Bald Eagle and $2.20 favorite Eiger.

Whenever Heza Gentleman wins, it is always special for Mitch Kearney.

He is the first foal of American-bred mare Silk Spun, who provided him with his first winner, at Hawkesbury in July 2014, not long after he had started training on his own.

. Heza Gentleman’s Dubbo success continued an excellent run for Team Kearney, who also scored with Jonjo’s Comet (Cowra) and Carlisle Bay (Wyong) in the last week of the 2020-21 racing year, completing their best season as a training duo.

And they hope to keep the run going by winning again with Carlisle Bay, purchased online for $2000 last year after he had been in two other stables without racing, when their home track opens the new season on Tuesday.

Hugh Bowman is a new rider for consistent Carlisle Bay in the Blakes Marine Class 1 Handicap (1600m).

“I rang Hugh’s manager Bryan Haskins, and he was happy to confirm the booking,” Mitch Kearney said.

“Carlisle Bay has done well since his breakthrough win at Wyong on July 29.”

The Kearneys are currently working 10 horses at Hawkesbury, and have a few spare boxes. “We’re always pleased to hear from prospective clients,” Desiree Kearney said.

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