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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


FRIDAY: July 15, 2022: GOULBURN trainer Danielle Seib is on a mission with rejuvenated Tudor Prince, hence her return on Sunday to the scene of one of his recent conquests.

Having already achieved a hat-trick of victories with the rising seven-year-old since he joined her stable earlier this year, Seib is seeking to make it four on the bounce in the Thank You NSW SES Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1800m) at Hawkesbury.

And she views extending that “picket fence” as most important on the trail to securing a berth in the field for the inaugural $2m The Big Dance (1600m) at Royal Randwick on November 5.

“The owners are keen to chase a start with Tudor Prince in The Big Dance, so continuing to earn more benchmark points is vital,” Seib said last night.

“It’s not going to be easy getting in with so many trainers targeting the race.

“Provided Tudor Prince races well on Sunday, I’ll run him in another Benchmark race in town in a couple of weeks and then give him a short break before aiming at the Bathurst Cup.”

The 1800m Cup at the Country Showcase meeting on September 25 provides the first two placegetters with eligibility for The Big Dance; the final field to be determined by benchmark ratings from the pool of eligible horses.

Winners of eligible country Cups will receive preference over any second placegetters, with the winner and runner-up of the Wild Card at Randwick on October 8 being ballot exempt.

Jockey Jean Van Overmeire (10 wins so far at Hawkesbury this season) has partnered Tudor Prince in his string of victories for his new trainer at Goulburn, Hawkesbury (1800m Benchmark 64 Handicap on June 12) and Canterbury, and partners him again on Sunday.

The final meeting of Hawkesbury’s racing year had to be moved a week because of the heavy rain and flooding which again hit the area the week before last – and it may prove a blessing in disguise for Tudor Prince’s connections.

“I had not planned to run Tudor Prince if last Sunday’s meeting gone ahead as scheduled,” Seib said.

“He was an emergency for a Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m) at Randwick the previous day, and would have started there but unfortunately didn’t get a run.

“Then I had him in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (2140m) at Warwick Farm yesterday, but decided against risking him in very heavy conditions (only two horses faced the starter).”

Seib said Tudor Prince, who hadn’t been successful since taking a 1650m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Moruya in August, 2020 until she landed a similar race with him over 1600m at Goulburn in late May at only his second start for her, remained in good order.

“I’m really happy with him,” she said. “He has continued to both work and do well since his Canterbury (1900m) win on June 22.”

Tudor Prince has 59.5kg topweight at Hawkesbury in a field of nine which comprises three local rivals.

Brad Widdup will be represented by Outlook (Jason Collett), Terry Croft by Just A Brother (Rory Hutchings), and Edward Cummings has last start Hawkesbury winner Queenmaker (William Pike).

Widdup has opted for a gear switch on Outlook, removing blinkers and instead putting pacifiers on the mare.

Tommy Berry and yesterday’s Grafton Cup winning rider Rachel King are joint leaders with 16 wins apiece in the jockeys’ premiership, but the former is sidelined with a bout of COVID.

King has bookings for Sebrossa (John Thompson), Mr Extreme (Michael Freedman), Edgewise and Duchess Adele (David Pfieffer), and needs only one win to claim a second title outright (she became the first of her sex to win it in 2019-20) as nearest rival Josh Parr (14 wins) isn’t riding at the meeting either.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott (14 wins) fight out the trainers’ premiership with James Cummings, the former duo holding a one-win lead.

Waterhouse and Bott will be represented by Black Tahitian (Thank You All Emergency Services 2&3YO Maiden, 1000m) and Let’s Roll ( CG&E Maiden, 1300m).

Cummings also has two runners, opposing his premiership rivals with Surrenders in the 2&3YO Maiden, and later recent first-up Hawkesbury Maiden winner Affidavit in the Sky Racing Class 1 Handicap (1300m).

. The rail is out varying distances; 2m from the 1300m to 1100m, 4m from 1110m to 450m, and 2m from the 450m to winning post.

Course manager Rick Johnston this morning posted a Heavy 8 rating. The track has received 31mm of rain in the past seven days (nil in the last 24 hours), and of course plenty in the prior week.

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