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  • John Curtis


TUESDAY: April 20, 2021: ORANGE Cup winner Brown Thomas will be seeking to add to his home track record when he lines up at Hawkesbury’s gala stand-alone meeting on Saturday week.

Brown Thomas, already a winner three times at home, will contest the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m).

Trainer Garry White, who claimed a sixth Orange Cup (2100m) when his gelding bolted away with last Friday’s $75,000 feature at the Showcase fixture, is looking forward to saddling him up at his home track’s biggest meeting of the year.

“Brown Thomas was having only his third start this preparation when he ran at Orange, and he has come out of the race well,” White said today.

One of Hawkesbury’s longest serving trainers, White is certainly putting his stamp on Racing Orange’s flagship event.

Not only has he won the Cup six times, but he has claimed it three of the last four years.

His earlier winners were Aussie Statesman (twice), Peaceful Joe (who also won a Hawkesbury Gold Cup), and Letter To Juliette, who scored in 2018 and 2019.

For all that, he is adamant his Orange Cup record should be a “fab seven”.

“I’m not complaining because I enjoy racing at Orange, and to win the Cup six times is something I’m very proud of,” he said.

“But I should have also won it with Social Time, who ran second to Quinaway in 1988.

“That was the year the late jockey Ken Russell had a shocking fall in the race, and lost a kidney and broke several ribs.

“Social Time should have won – and won easily.”

White says he generally has a horse at the right time to contest the Orange Cup, and in fact started Brown Thomas last year when he was unplaced.

He gave him two lead-up runs this time, finishing a first-up ninth (beaten just over three lengths) in a heat of the Provincial Championships (1400m) at home on March 6 before running third in the Orange Cup Prelude (1600m) 15 days later.

The Lope De Vega five-year-old, raced by White’s long-standing client, Grahame Mapp’s Hobartville Stud, carried 58kg in the Prelude and dropped 3kg in the Cup.

Brown Thomas was partnered last Friday by Mathew Cahill, who also rode Letter To Juliette in both her Cup victories.

. White is also considering starting Winds Of War in Saturday week’s $200,000 Group 3 Blacktown Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m).

A three-year-old by Headwater who also races in the Hobartville Stud colours, the gelding beat five rivals in a 1250m barrier trial at Hawkesbury yesterday.

He has raced four times this campaign for a first-up second at Canberra on January 22 and fourths on his home track on February 9, March 16 and April 5 over 1100m, 1000m and 1100m respectively.

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