SUNDAY: July 12, 2020: RACHEL King will celebrate another birthday at season’s end – and with it in all likelihood a history-making Hawkesbury jockeys’ premiership.
The gifted English woman will turn 30 on July 31 (the last day of the current season), and is poised to become the first female to win the provincial club’s senior title.
Another winner today at the second last meeting of the 2019-20 racing year took her to 12 wins, three ahead of Jason Collett, who also rode a winner.
There is only one Hawkesbury meeting left on July 30 and Collett, though handed a brief suspension (his first in more than 500 rides) yesterday after landing a Rosehill Gardens treble, will be available to compete that day.
Regardless, he would need to produce another treble and for King not to ride a winner to even share premiership honours.
A Hawkesbury premiership would be fitting for King, who was only one win behind Blake McDougall in the 2016-17 apprentices’ title there and then, along with Collett, was the same margin behind Tommy Berry in last season’s senior premiership.
King won both her first Group and Group 1 race for trainer Mark Newnham, with whom she enjoys a successful association. She won the 2018 Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket on former New Zealander Lanciato and later that year the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick on Maid Of Heaven, who also was the trainer’s first winner at racing’s elite level.
King won the Summit Landscapes Maiden Plate (1800m) today on Hit The High Note ($4.40) for co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden; their ninth Hawkesbury success of the season.
But, as with King, the trainers’ premiership looks to be in the safe hands of fellow Randwick co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, who clinched an initial Hawkesbury title in 2016-17.
Team Waterhouse’s Hawkesbury double today with Aeecee Beau ($2.25 favorite) and Escaped ($3.10 second favorite) propelled the duo to 16 wins, three ahead of closest rival Gerald Ryan.
Robbie Dolan (5 wins) is one ahead of “stablemate” Tom Sherry in the apprentices’ premiership.
. Hawkesbury husband and wife training partnership Philippe and Tara Vigouroux didn’t miss out on home track spoils either at today’s meeting.
Team Vigouroux won the opening event, the (Your Business Here) F&M Maiden Handicap (1300m), with $41 outsider Fire Dragon (Chad Lever), who prevailed not only in a tight finish but also in the stewards’ room.
The Pendragon filly, having only her second start, showed surprising pace considering she is by a staying sire, and fought bravely in the straight to pip Kiss And Tell ($2.70 favorite) and another Hawkesbury representative, Garry Frazer’s Calbuco ($26).
A protest lodged on behalf of the third placegetter alleging interference near the 200m was turned down.
Stewards said that, although Fire Dragon shifted out and contacted Calbuco, resulting in the latter becoming slightly unbalanced, they weren’t satisfied that she would have finished ahead of the winner in spite of the slender margin at the post.
Co-trainer Tara Vigouroux said the filly’s victory was a nice surprise, as they would have been happy to see her running on well with a view to getting up over a longer distance.
With 12 wins so far (following a breakout 15 last year), Team Vigouroux is second only to Brad Widdup (40) in winners trained by Hawkesbury trainers this season in an overall total of 138.