ROLLER HOME ON A WING AND A PRAYER
Any win is always special to a horse’s connections.
It’s even more special when it comes to Hawkesbury mare Piping Roller, who began a new campaign with a Newcastle victory yesterday, maintaining her unbeaten record at the track.
The reason for this is that she is the last foal of the Flemington winner Prayer Time, who died not long after giving birth to her in August, 2016.
“Piping Roller was one of the biggest foals born at Widden Stud that year,” trainer Mitch Newman explained today.
“When Prayer Time died, they had to find a foster mother to look after the foal.
“We didn’t push Piping Roller early, and that’s why she didn’t race as a two-year-old.
“She is doing a good job, and has never run badly.”
A daughter of former smart sprinter Your Song, who raced only nine times for three wins including the 2013 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm on heavy ground, Piping Roller coincidentally has also raced only nine times to date for three wins as well.
Partnered by Chad Lever yesterday, she jumped a well-supported $3.80 second favorite in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m), and was given a perfect run from a favorable draw.
Just when $2.80 favorite Rifles was being hailed the winner, Newman’s mare drew on her reserves and overhauled him.
“Piping Roller was coming along a bit slowly this time in work until I took her to Gosford for an 800m trial on September 2,” Newman said.
“The trial brought her on leaps and bounds and rather than give her a second trial, I decided to take her to Newcastle when I noticed this 900m race in the calendar.
“I thought she might have been a bit soft near the finish yesterday, but she dug deep under 59.5kg.”
Piping Roller has now won both her starts on the spacious Newcastle track – and they have been at carnival meetings.
Earlier in the year, she beat her own sex in another Benchmark 64 Handicap over 1200m (ridden by Hugh Bowman) at the Newmarket meeting on March 6.
Piping Roller hasn’t finished further back than sixth in any of her races, and may have earned a crack at midweek company in town.
“That’s an option if we can find a suitable race for her in the coming weeks,” Newman said.
“I’m unsure at this stage what her optimum distance is.
“I tried her in a 1400m heat of the Provincial Championships at Kembla Grange after that Newcastle win, and she finished sixth, beaten just over three lengths.
“We’ll see how she progresses this campaign before making any decision on having another go at the Provincial Championships next year.”
Piping Roller’s victory yesterday kicked off a new season for her trainer, the former successful jockey, who prepared a benchmark 11 winners last season.
Newman also prepared Piping Roller’s older half-sister Miss Fortuitous (by Lucky Owners), but she failed to win in 20 starts, though she managed four placings.