FRIDAY: December 1, 2023: MATTHEW Vella is back on the “battle field”, so to speak!
Thanks to a close association with Newgate Stud Farm boss Henry Field, the Hawkesbury trainer will have his first runner in more than two years on his home track on Sunday.
And with an expensive yearling purchase named Battlefield, who also makes a return to the racetrack – but this time as a gelding.
Rachel King will ride the Deep Field three-year-old in the XXXX Gold Provincial Maiden Handicap (1000m).
She has been aboard Battlefield in two recent trials at Warwick Farm and Randwick on November 8 and 20 for his new trainer, finishing fifth and fourth respectively.
Battlefield, the third foal of the Mossman mare Mossin’ Around, whose sole win was at Canterbury in 2015 but was twice Group placed in Melbourne the following year, fetched $520,0000 at the 2021 Inglis Premier yearling sale in Melbourne.
He is owned by many of the industry’s major players including Newgate, China Horse Club, Trilogy, Horse Ventures and Go Bloodstock Australia, and had two starts for leading trainer Chris Waller at Canterbury in July as a late two-year-old, when fifth on both occasions and not beaten far.
“Battlefield didn’t measure up as a stallion prospect, and was gelded,” Vella said.
“I break in and pre-train all Newgate’s colts, and Henry sent him to me to see what we can do with him.
“He is the only horse I have in work who is in racing trim.
“I’ve got a few young ones to get ready to go to the trials, and they might even go to Hong Kong.”
Along with being gelded, blinkers go on Battlefield for his resumption.
Vella’s last starter was Roam Free, who ran last of six runners at Gosford on August 27, 2021. Earlier that month when training for Sir Owen Glenn at the magnificent property subsequently purchased by RacingNSW adjoining Hawkesbury racecourse, he won races with that mare (also by Deep Field) at Kembla Grange and Never Second at Goulburn.
“I took a short break, and then started working for Annabel Neasham,” Vella said.
“I do Annabel’s breaking and pre-training, and took out my training licence again eight or nine months ago.”
In an early TAB.com.au market, Battlefield was installed as a $2.60 favorite, ahead of leading Kembla Grange trainers Rob and Luke Price’s Monte Supreme ($4.80).
The I Am Invincible filly has trialled four times this year, but is yet to race. She has been placed at her latest trials at Warwick Farm (November 8) and Kembla Grange (November 27).
Like Battlefield, Monte Supreme also will sport blinkers.
Tyler Schiller, with a full book of rides at Sunday’s meeting, and all for different trainers, has the opportunity to increase his lead in the jockeys’ premiership.
With eight wins so far this season, he is three ahead of Jason Collett and Kerrin McEvoy, neither of whom have taken bookings.
Schiller’s mounts are Lumiere for Peter and Paul Snowden, I Am Smiling (Chris Waller), Another Fortune (Claire Lever), Community (Kim Waugh), Waikato Flyer (Greg Hickman), Misty Legend (Richard and Will Freedman), and True Blue (Matthew Smith).
. The rail is out 2m from the 1100m to the 450m, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. Course manager Kyle Cassim this morning posted a “Soft 7” rating.
Hawkesbury has received 39mm of rain in the past seven days, but only 0.5mnm in the last 24 hours.
Racing begins at 1.40pm (gates open at 11.30am), and concludes at 5.25pm.