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  • John Curtis


THURSDAY: May 20, 2021: A set of famous racing silks came to the fore again today, this time providing Hawkesbury trainer Brooke Somers with a home track breakthrough.

But it didn’t come easily!

Somers won the XXXX Gold Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1400m) with Dream Eclipse ($5.50), after his jockey Andrew Gibbons had lodged a protest following a narrow defeat.

In a tense finish, Dream Eclipse went under narrowly to heavily-backed $1.55 favorite Verbek.

RacingNSW stewards agreed with Gibbons’ claim that his mount had been bumped on the hindquarter and became unbalanced when Verbek (Tommy Berry) shifted out near the 50m, and were satisfied that Somers’ horse would have beaten the hotpot had the interference not occurred.

Stewards subsequently advised Berry to exercise more care in future.

Dream Eclipse, a three-year-old by Dream Ahead, is raced by a syndicate headed by 25-times Group 1 winning former Randwick trainer Bob Thomsen.

Afterwards, Somers revealed Thomsen had allowed her to use his A set of silks sported in Shogun Lodge’s three Group 1 victories (and remarkable 12 seconds at racing’s elite level).

“Dream Eclipse raced in a spare set of Bob’s colours (pale green, orange stars and green cap) for his first seven starts,” Somers said.

“But Bob brought out the vintage colours when the horse ran second at Newcastle on May 8 and again today.

“Bob purchased Dream Eclipse after he was passed in at the 2019 Inglis Classic yearling sale.

“I am so grateful to him and his fellow owners for giving me this horse to train.

“Bob’s son Jamie and apprentice Brandon Griffiths broke in Dream Eclipse, and I have had him for all his nine starts.”

Somers, who says she is taking her training career – which began in 2016 – in a new direction linked under the Senator Racing banner, was adamant leading Newcastle rider Gibbons’ recent experience with Dream Eclipse proved vital in today’s outcome.

“Andrew rode Dream Eclipse at his previous start when runner-up at Newcastle, and had a better understanding of him after that race,” she said.

It was a day of “firsts” for the Hawkesbury trainer.

Not only was it her first success on her home track since she saddled her first runner on Newcastle’s Beaumont track in August, 2016, it was also the first time she had been involved in a protest.

“I was nervous,” she admitted.

“Andrew (Gibbons) prodded me during the hearing to get me involved.

“Thankfully, the result came out the right way for us.”

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