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  • John Curtis


THURSDAY: October 8, 2020: “SHE was never running second today”.

That was Hawkesbury trainer Matt Vella’s confident statement after his debutante Never Second had made an impressive start to her racing career at Gosford today.

The Zoustar filly, who fetched $140,000 as a weanling at the Gold Coast two years ago, started a well-backed $2.30 favorite in the Provincial & Country Maiden Plate (1100m) and rounded her up her rivals to score easily.

“I was a bit worried beforehand about the barrier (Never Second drew the outside in a field of nine), but she was too good,” Vella said.

Vella broke in the three-year-old filly and she had four Sydney trials (for two placings) for co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace between November last year and May this year without racing.

“I have also pre-trained her and, being one of Sir Owen Glenn’s horses (Go Bloodstock Australia), it was decided to keep her with me to train this time,” Vella explained.

“Never Second is a hot filly and still a bit silly, and it suited best to leave her at Hawkesbury.

“There’s no doubt she has ability, but is still six months away and will definitely be a better filly at her next preparation.

“She will either have another run at the midweeks in town or go to the paddock.”

Winning rider Tommy Berry got Never Second over from her awkward draw, and it was obvious approaching the home turn that Never Second was going to be hard to beat as she began to close on the leading pair Jaytees ($3.60) and $26 chance Goofy Mick.

She went right on with the job to beat Jaytees by nearly two lengths, with Hasalake ($11) making ground to grab third placing.

Vella trialled Never Second at Rosehill Gardens over 900m on September 15 when a close second to the so far unraced Another Alibi, and third placegetter Ballistic Lover confirmed the merit of that form by winning both her subsequent starts, the latest at Warwick Farm yesterday.

Never Second is the fourth foal of the Show A Heart mare Dual Chamber, who won Listed races in Brisbane – at Doomben in 2010 over 1200m and Eagle Farm the following year over 1300m.

She died in March this year.

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