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  • John Curtis


FRIDAY: December 10, 2021: CAMP David might be the US President’s country retreat – but Hawkesbury trainer Joshep Khalifeh has a different view!

It’s Queanbeyan as far as he is concerned.

Khalifeh won his second race there yesterday with the equine Camp David, continuing the brilliant record he is building at the track.

Having taken out his licence in the late 1990s, he has won eight races – and five of them have been at Queanbeyan with two horses.

The now retired Tribuna’s three career victories were all at that track.

“Queanbeyan has certainly been a good track to me, and hopefully there are more wins to come,” Khalifeh said this morning.

“But at one stage on the way to the track yesterday, I didn’t know if our race (the last of seven) would be on as we struck heavy rain.”

Khalifeh had hoped to ride Camp David more positively from the outside barrier in a field of 10 in the Benchmark 50 Handicap (1600m), but that didn’t happen when he was slow to begin.

“It turned out to be a blessing as his rider Julia Presits was able to get over one off the fence and give him a good run.”

Camp David’s two career victories at Queanbeyan have both been at good odds. He was a $16 chance when he toppled $1.16 hotpot Mycah Leon in a 1460m Maiden Plate there on November 8.

This time he went out at $26 and finished gamely from last at the 400m to edge out Dancin’ Till Dawn ($12) and Gilded Crown ($4.80) in a blanket finish.

Khalifeh purchased Camp David after he had finished last of eight starters in a 900m barrier trial at Rosehill Gardens in November, 2018, and gelded him.

Now a five-year-old, he has won two of his last three starts, but his trainer may not get the chance to take him back to Queanbeyan in the immediate future.

“I had a look at the RacingNSW calendar last night, and there doesn’t appear to be a suitable race for him at the next meeting on Boxing Day,” Khalifeh said.

“We’ll just have to try to find a suitable race for him at another track.”

Khalifeh keeps only one or two horses in work at a time, and Camp David’s stablemate Amy Ekcels is getting close to resuming.

“She is coming along nicely and should be ready to race soon after Christmas,” he said.

. Swedish-born apprentice Presits also has a penchant for Queanbeyan.

Not only has she partnered Camp David in his two victories at Queanbeyan, but it is her most successful track so far, having ridden four winners there in her Australian tally of 27.

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