• John Curtis


SUNDAY: October 11, 2020: GARRY White is an unabashed fan of last season’s Hawkesbury premiership winning jockey Rachel King.

“I gain confidence whenever she rides one of my horses,” the experienced Hawkesbury trainer said this evening after King had won another race for him, on Brown Thomas, at his home track meeting today.

“James Cummings referred to her as uncomplicated after she had landed a double for Godolphin at Randwick yesterday, and that sums her up perfectly.

“Rachel is a very uncomplicated person, and not just a good rider.

“She is a wonderful horsewoman. Horses travel for her and she gets them into a good spot.

“She has great finesse and a beautiful set of hands on a horse.”

Brown Thomas ($3.80), after having been given a perfect run by King, led home a Hawkesbury quinella in the XXXX Gold Benchmark 64 Handicap (1800m), holding out the strong finish of Peter Green’s $51 roughie Orokonui.

The Lope De Vega five-year-old was also an acceptor for the Celebrate Xmas At HRC Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m) earlier in the meeting, but White said he was always intending to start him in the 1800m event.

“RacingNSW rang and asked me to accept with him in the 1600m race because there were only a few acceptors (only four horses ran), but the plan was to run him at 1800m,” he explained.

“Brown Thomas had run two good fourths over 1400m and 1800m since resuming, and I wasn’t going to shoot myself in the foot by bringing him back to 1600m.

“Rachel said afterwards she was always confident in the run today, and he surged strongly in the straight when other horses came at him.”

Ironically, White thought the gelding was going to be a sprinter earlier in his career.

“His first two wins were over 1300m at Hawkesbury and 1280m at Orange when he raced up on the speed,” he said.

“But I tried him at 1900m at a Canterbury night meeting in February this year when he went up in distance from 1375m in the country at his first run back, and he went really well.

“He won at his next start over 2000m at Hawkesbury at big odds, and I expected him to be hard to beat that day.”

Brown Thomas has a stout pedigree. He is the second last foal of Light Chance (who died in December 2018), a Newcastle 1600m Maiden winner from only four starts.

Her dam, the outstanding Centaine mare Slight Chance, won multiple Group 1s, including the Flight Stakes at Randwick and VRC Oaks at Flemington and Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm in her three-year-old season.

Now that Brown Thomas has returned to the winning list – today’s victory was his fourth from 18 starts – he is most likely headed to a midweek race in town for his next assignment.

“He has already won at 2000m, and I feel he will manage even further than that,” White said.

. King, who became the first female to beat the ‘boys” for Hawkesbury riding honours last season, is making a determined bid to retain her title.

She has already ridden five winners at the track this season, and shares top spot with Tommy Berry, who was successful today on odds-on favourite So Far Away for Peter and Paul Snowden in the Lander Toyota Ladies Day Maiden Plate (1300m).

Whilst the eight races were shared amongst eight riders, multiple Group 1 winning trainer Clarry Conners stole the spotlight with a treble.

He scored with Real Peace ($2.20), debutante Pick The Score ($15), the So You Think filly being the first foal of the former smart Hawkesbury mare Footy Fan, and Kariba ($8).

Kariba snatched victory in the closing stages of the Fridays On The Terrace Class 1 Handicap (1400m), relegating Hawkesbury trainer Brooke Somers’ consistent Budhwar ($5) to another minor placing; the eighth of his 13-start career.

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