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  • John Curtis


FRIDAY: July 9, 2021: MARK Newnham has the Hawkesbury trainers’ premiership already in the bag -and now one of his apprentices Tom Sherry on Sunday has an unexpected opportunity to clinch the junior riding title.

There will be a touch of irony if runaway Sydney apprentices’ premiership winner Sherry, who resumes at Royal Randwick tomorrow after being sidelined through injury since late May, can ride a winner to oust his “stablemate” Tyler Schiller, who was injured at Kembla Grange yesterday and is out of action.

Schiller had six bookings, and Hawkesbury trainer Terry Croft has secured fellow apprentice Jean Van Overmeire to replace him on Rager in the Weddings @ HRC 2&3YO Maiden Handicap (1000m).

Sherry and Schiller currently share top spot with five wins apiece, and leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup has come on board to give the expatriate Irishman a chance to “atone” for last year’s narrow defeat at the hands of former stablemate Robbie Dolan, now in the senior ranks.

Sherry rode four winners at Hawkesbury last season, only one behind Dolan.

Widdup has booked the star apprentice for topweights Eminencia (XXXX Gold F&M Maiden Handicap, 1300m) and Free State (Independent Liquor Group Class 1 Handicap, 1300m).

I Am Invincible filly Eminencia, runner-up at Hawkesbury two starts back on June 13, will race without winkers on Sunday.

Headwater three-year-old Free State has been in the money at all four starts this campaign, and is deserving of another breakthrough.

As Sherry tries to go one better than last year, so too Jason Collett, who has the front running to turn the tables on Rachel King in the jockeys’ premiership.

Collett (10 wins) finished two behind King – who became the first female to win Hawkesbury’s senior premiership – last year, and goes into Sunday’s final meeting a similar margin ahead this time.

King has a full book, and Hawkesbury trainers have thrown their support behind her with mounts in five of the eight races.

Garry White has booked her for High Academy (Independent Liquor Group Class 1 Handicap, 1300m), Pending (Windsor Rotary Maiden Handicap, 1300m) and War Cabinet (HRC Motel Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1500m).

King also rides Hendo’s Magic (Lander Toyota Conditional Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1800m) and Sniper Legend (De Bortoli Wines Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1000m) for fellow Hawkesbury trainers Garry Frazer and Matt Vella respectively.

However, a decision is pending whether Sniper Legend runs at Royal Randwick tomorrow in the 2YO Handicap (1100m), or is kept for his home meeting.

“Sniper Legend has done well since his first-up win at home in an 1100m Maiden on June 22 on heavy ground,” Vella said.

“But Sunday’s race is obviously tougher going from a Maiden to a Benchmark 64 and also tackling older horses once again.”

Collett rode Hong Kong-owned Sniper Legend in his Hawkesbury victory, but Vella initially intended running him at Randwick.

“When he drew awkwardly at Randwick, I decided to also accept with him at Hawkesbury,” Vella explained.

Collett instead will ride another local, Group 1 winning trainer Edward Cummings’ smart filly Sunborn.

Cummings has made a number of gear changes on the Casino Prince three-year-old, who no doubt will take improvement from her first-up defeat at Kembla Grange on June 24 at her first start in nearly a year.

He has opted to put both a cross over nose band and lugging bit on Sunborn.

Louise Day, who rides for the last time at Randwick tomorrow as an apprentice, will kick off her senior career with the mount on last start winner Controlthewitness in the Lander Toyota Conditional Benchmark 64.

The pair teamed to land a similar 1600m race at Gosford on heavy ground on June 29.

“Controlthewitness goes up 1.5kg without Louise being able to claim, but handles the ground and should run well again,” trainer Kris Lees said.

“Hopefully, he can give Louise the best start to her senior career.”

Following are the rides for jockeys’ premiership protagonists Collett and King:


RACE 1 Sir Crackle Sacred Stream

RACE 2 Candy Pants Zentime

RACE 3 Chateaux Park High Academy

RACE 4 ----- Pending

RACE 5 Kiterro Prince Six

RACE 6 Vallauris Hendo’s Magic

RACE 7 Sunborn Sniper Legend

RACE 8 Dance Too Hard War Cabinet

. The rail is in the TRUE position, and racecourse manager Rick Johnston has currently posted a “Soft 7“ rating.

. Paul Joice’s selections are:

RACE 1: SIR CRACKLE, Concocted, Arale.

RACE 2: ZENTIME, Vanilla Sky, Kouklara.

RACE 3: LAKE KASTORIA, Free State, High Academy.

RACE 4: PENDING, Fragore, Brynner.

RACE 5: GAME ROYAL, Kiterro, Aurora Florentina.

RACE 6: UNAMERICAN, Vallauris, So Sneeky.

RACE 7: NICCI’S SONG, Stoical, Sniper Legend.

RACE 8: ADAMAS PRINCE, Deel With Me, Oakfield Target.


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