MEETING SWITCH GIVES KEARNEYS HOME BREAKTHROUGH
TUESDAY: May 31, 2022: CO-TRAINERS Mitchell and Desiree Kearney didn’t mind at all that today’s scheduled Kembla Grange meeting was transferred to their home track.
The popular Hawkesbury couple continued their best season so far by clinching their first local winner in 2021-22 – and in the process set jockey Jean Van Overmeire off on his biggest day in the saddle.
Van Overmeire’s success on Team Kearney’s Mycah Leon ($8.50) in the opening event, the Maiden Plate (1500m), was the first of a magnificent five-winner haul.
And the All American three-year-old’s victory was especially pleasing as the gelding’s breeder-owner Tony Borg coached Mitch Kearney when he played rugby league at weekends for St Clair in the Penrith Under 13 competition.
Mycah Leon gave the Kearneys their 12th winner of the season, and certainly deserved a breakthrough.
This was his 11th start today – his sixth for his new trainers – and had been placed on six occasions previously.
“We tried him over 1800m at Bathurst two starts back, but it didn’t work,” Desiree Kearney explained this evening.
“He jumped the crossing at the 1300m, and never travelled after that.
“We brought him back to 1500m at Hawkesbury 12 days ago and he ran on well to finish fourth.
“Our plan was to settle him closer today, and Jean did exactly that.”
Van Overmeire had Mycah Leon in second place behind the leader and eventual runner-up Satness ($6), and headed that fellow three-year-old on straightening.
Mycah Leon was strong in the closing stages and won comfortably, with Blackall ($3.60 favorite) a well-beaten third.
The Kearneys were extremely complimentary of Jean Van Overmeire, who is no stranger to riding for the couple.
“Jean deserves every success which comes his way,” Desiree Kearney said. “He is a real down to earth guy.”
Stable star Heza Gentleman, who has given the Kearneys five (including three at the Canterbury night session) of their 12 winners this season, will have his second start this campaign at Royal Randwick on Saturday week.