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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


WEDNESDAY: October 18, 2023: PORT Macquarie trainer Paul Shailer will have his first runner at Hawkesbury tomorrow with a horse he believes is “capable of winning a good race”.

The New Zealand expat will be represented by the lightly-raced and promising four-year-old Twigman, whom Adam Hyeronimus rides again in the Pioneer Services Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (2000m).

Hyeronimus teamed with the gelding to land a similar race over 1900m at Gosford on October 5, downing odds-on favorite State Of America.

Twigman, a son of four times Group 1 winner Preferment (by Zabeel), has won four of his nine starts, and his trainer is adamant he is a stayer with a bright future.

“He is raced by the Tighe family (of Winx fame) and carries their own set of colours,” Shailer said this morning.

“Twigman is a homebred and didn’t go through a sale.

“He is a little bit behind other horses as a result, and is still six months away from really hitting his peak.

“But I believe he is good enough to win a nice race down the track.”

Shailer, who spent 10 years with Preferment’s trainer Chris Waller, including four managing his Gold Coast stable, set up shop when a stabling opportunity arose at Port Macquarie just over two years ago, and soon will move back to the Gold Coast to again train there.

“I expect to have everything in place by the first week of December,” he said.

Shailer thought enough of Twigman to line him up against more seasoned three-year-olds in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick in April at his seventh start following three wins (two at Port Macquarie and the other at Grafton) in far easier class.

He wasn’t disgraced as a $101 chance, finishing 11th to Major Beel, beating seven horses home and then going for a spell.

“Twigman ran fourth first-up over 1600m at Newcastle last month at the Cup meeting, and won at Gosford second up.” Shailer said.

“He carried 58kg then, goes up only 2kg in a similar type of race, and the 2000m won’t be a problem.”

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup again opposes Twigman with Silvakia (Jean Van Overmeire), who ran third to him at Gosford.

He has decided to take a nose roll off the Reliable Man mare, and put visors back on.

“Silvakia had the visors when she won over 1850m at Newcastle in April for her previous trainer Mark Newnham,” Widdup said.

“I’ve taken my time getting her out to 2000m, but she’s ready for it now after three runs this time in.

“She is definitely close to another win.”

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Marc Chevalier and his wife Charlotte are the proud parents of their first born, son Owen, who entered the world on October 9, and hope to celebrate a breakthrough victory with the consistent Criminal Art in tomorrow’s XXXX Gold 4YO&Up Maiden Plate (1500m).

Chevalier has opted for blinkers on the Artie Schiller mare, who has been placed at her last five starts.

“Louise Day has been riding Criminal Art and felt she got a bit lost the other day when she hit the front at Moruya, and needs blinkers to keep her focused,” Chevalier said.

“I rode her work wearing blinkers on Saturday morning on Saturday morning, and she felt stronger on the bit.

“Chris Waller’s horse by Kingman (Seneschal) ran really well when placed on the Kensington track last start, and looks the horse to beat.

“We might have to be content with another placing, but hopefully we can get a change of luck with Criminal Art.”

. The rail is out 4m from the 1100m to the 450m, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. Course manager Kyle Cassim posted a “Good 4” rating this morning, with a penetrometer reading of 4.82.

The eight-race program begins at 1.10pm and concludes at 5.30pm.

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