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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

PITAVAGO A "GIFT" FOR CHEVALIER


SATURDAY: January 28, 2023: SOMETIMES good things happen when you least expect them!

Hawkesbury trainer Marc Chevalier could not have dreamt about getting such an important new stable client when he purchased a lightly-raced mare online in July 2021.

But that’s exactly what happened – thanks to Pitavago, who broke through for her first win at Taree yesterday.

Ridden by Lewis German, Pitavago ($9.50) left her rivals with no excuses, sweeping around the field from near last on the home turn to run down fancied pair Sir Tom ($4 favorite) and Viv ($4.20) in the Maiden Handicap (1000m).

Pitavago was one of Chevalier’s first runners (sixth at Wyong on August 29, 2021) when he launched his training career at the start of that season.

“I bought Pitavago for $13,000 for a syndicate from her original owner Dr Ulysses Crosson, whom I had never met,” Chevalier related today.

“We kept in touch about the mare’s progress and when Wyong trainer Jeff Englebrecht retired toward the end of last season, he was kind enough to give me all the horses he owned.

“I have eight horses for Ulysses, so I have much to thank Pitavago for.”

Chevalier has 11 horses in work at Hawkesbury and 18 on his books with a couple of yearlings to come in, and says he will be active at the forthcoming Inglis Classic sale, looking to buy a couple more yearlings for syndicates.

Unfortunately, Pitavago, a six-year-old daughter of Helmet who yesterday was racing for only the ninth occasion, did not win for her syndicate.

“She is quite a fragile mare, and didn’t have her first start until late in her four-year-old season when Ulysses owned her,” Chevalier said.

“Pitavago didn’t feel right after her first run for me at Wyong, and I got her scanned, which revealed an old pelvis fracture.

“I gave her a good break, and she ran second first-up at Hawkesbury last March and then was unlucky when a close third at Wagga at her next run.

“Pitavago failed on a pretty soft track at her next run at Hawkesbury. It was raining a lot that day, and she wasn’t comfortable in the conditions.

“I told her owners she needed dry tracks to show her best, but they decided not to continue with her.”

Chevalier had enough faith in the mare that he and his wife Charlotte bought her for $4250 when she was again offered online last June.

“I knew she had ability, and didn’t want to let a good mare go,” he said.

“Because she is fragile, she has to be carefully managed and I didn’t trial or give her a jumpout to keep her fresh leading up to her resumption at Taree yesterday.

“It was the first time I have started a horse there, and even though it was a ‘Soft 5’ rating, the track was perfect for her as there was good grass coverage.”

. Chevalier clinched his third success of the season and the 20th for Hawkesbury stables so far this month, and is looking forward to getting his stable star Torrens back to the track in the near future.

Unbeaten from three starts over the Royal Randwick 2400m (including his last start in the Listed Christmas Cup on December 10), Torrens is being aimed toward the $2m Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) there on the second day of The Championships.

“There wasn’t another suitable race for him after the Christmas Cup, so I gave him three weeks off,” Chevalier said.

“The plan is to resume him in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) on March 4.”

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