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  • John Curtis


TUESDAY: November 9, 2021: HAWKESBURY trainer Joseph Khalifeh won’t mind going back to Queanbeyan anytime soon.

Khalifeh took on a giant-killing role there yesterday when his $16 chance Camp David upset raging favorite Mycah Leo ($1.16) to break through at his 20th start – and without any previous placings.

It was his first success since the now retired Tribuna won a Benchmark 50 over the same distance there in April last year.

“I won three races with Tribuna and they were all the Queanbeyan, so the track has been good to me,” Khalifeh said this morning.

“I sold her as a broodmare and have only two horses in work at Hawkesbury.

“All the trainers get on well, and I enjoy training there.”

Now five-year-old Camp David began his career with Team Hawkes at Rosehill Gardens, but was sold after finishing last of eight in a 900m trial there in November, 2018.

“He was a colt when I bought him online, and had him gelded before he raced,” Khalifeh explained.

“Camp David has taken time to mature, but I gave him at least a Top 3 chance yesterday.

“He ran well at Hawkesbury a couple of runs back when he made ground to finish sixth in a 1300m Maiden, and beat half the field home.

“Obviously I knew the favorite would be hard to beat at Queanbeyan, but going back to country class gave me hope that Camp David would be very competitive.”

Apprentice Ellen Hennessy rode the gelding in that Hawkesbury race on September 23, and Khalifeh sought another female apprentice Julia Presits for the Queanbeyan assignment.

Presits gave Camp David plenty of time to find his feet and settled last before bringing him with a determined run to overhaul the hotpot in the shadows of the post.

Khalifeh’s other horse is the four-year-old mare Amy Ekcels, whom he trains for former trainer Terry Rae.

“Terry bought her from the Gold Coast, and we started her once in August before giving her a break,” Khalifeh said.

“She is a staying mare and is back in work, but four to five weeks away from racing again.”

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