FRIDAY: October 9, 2020: BROOKE Somers was understandably emotional when her racing fortunes finally took a turn for the better at Orange earlier in the week.
The Hawkesbury trainer, who prepared her first winner (I Am Capitan) at Wyong four years ago this month, had endured a frustrating run of 12 minor placings since clinching her first ever double (Our Sweet Love and C’est La Vie) at Queanbeyan on March 21.
Tormund (Brendan Ward) ended Somers’ near seven months’ winless drought at Orange on Tuesday, and now she is hoping to build on that breakthrough with further success on her home track on Sunday.
She has three runners – Assertive Ace (TAB Maiden Handicap, 1600m), Dream Eclipse (Lander Toyota Ladies Day Maiden Plate, 1300m) and Budhwar (Fridays On The Terrace Class 1 Handicap, 1400m).
Keagan Latham will ride Assertive Ace and Budhwar, and Robbie Brewer partners Dream Eclipse.
“The COVIC-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and trainers with a small team such as myself have done it tough,” Somers said.
“I am especially indebted to Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli, who has been a real saviour by continuing to give me horses to pre-train for him.”
Her string of minor placings aside, it’s been a trying year and a bit for Somers, who broke both her arms in August last year when educating one of her horses.
That horse happens to be the lightly-raced Swiss Ace four-year-old Assertive Ace, who clearly “owes” her a win.
“I was giving him barrier practice and fell when he came out of the gates,” Somers explained.
“I bought Assertive Ace (for $35,000) as a yearling at the Gold Coast two years ago, and he’s been a slow maturer, not racing as a two and three-year-old.
“He has now had three runs this campaign, and being a big-striding horse I feel the 1600m will suit him on Sunday.”
Four of Somers’ 12 placings between her wins this year have been those of Budhwar, who has certainly been a model of consistency.
His 12 career starts have yielded a win and seven placings overall. Since resuming, he hasn’t finished further back than fourth in five assignments.
Somers is confident he will run well on Sunday, but is wary of rival Wyong trainer Kim Waugh’s representative Atherton.
“Kim has twice beaten Budhwar into second placing (with Sarah Elizabeth at Hawkesbury last November and with Bethencourt at Wyong last Thursday),” she said.
“Budhwar has been racing really well, and his work was good on Wednesday morning. He is getting stronger with each run this time.”
Somers is thrilled to be training Dream Eclipse for a syndicate headed by legendary former Randwick trainer Bob Thomsen, and also that his former apprentice Robbie Brewer is riding the Dream Ahead three-year-old.
“Dream Eclipse ran seventh on debut at Scone late last month, and it wasn’t a bad run at all,” she said.
“It was a very windy day and a messy race, yet he made nice ground at the end. Going from 1100m to 1300m will suit him.
“Robbie rode Dream Eclipse work this week, and is looking forward to riding him in a race on Sunday.”
Mark Newnham has hit the ground running at Hawkesbury in the first two months of the new season, leading the way with five winners.
He has four runners; Kittyhawk Flyer (HRC Motel Maiden Handicap, 1000m), Aeecee Vinco (Superstars of Country at HRC Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1000m), Bob (XXXX Gold Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1800m) and Montserrat (in Budhwar’s race).
His apprentices Tyler Schiller (Kittyhawk Flyer and Aeecee Vinco) and Tom Sherry (Montserrat) will ride three of the foursome, with Tommy Berry partnering Bob.
Kittyhawk Flyer is one of Sky Racing analyst Paul Joice’s specials at the meeting.
The More Than Ready three-year-old has been placed at two of her three starts, including an excellent debut second to Kinloch in a 2YO Maiden (900m) at Newcastle in April.
She won a 742m Randwick trial on September 25, and looks nicely placed with Schiller’s 3kg claim and from an inside draw.
Dual acceptor Brown Thomas will run in the XXXX Gold Benchmark 64 (1800m), with Rachel King aboard. His withdrawal, along with Charmed Princess, from the Celebrate Xmas At HRC Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1800m) leaves a field of only four.
. The rail is in the TRUE position for Sunday’s meeting, and a “Soft 5” rating was posted this morning.
. Paul Joice’s selections are:
RACE 1: FINE RUBY, Persian Front, Anakin Skywalker.
RACE 2: GLAMOUR FOX, California Firebird, Elon.
RACE 3: REAL PEACE, Fields of Honour, Assertive Ace.
RACE 4: KITTYHAWK FLYER, Choose Your Weapon, Lucky To Win.
RACE 5: BELLUCI BABE, Gidgee Guy, Tudor Music.
RACE 6: PROVEN CLASS, Donnachiara, Moon Panther.
RACE 7: SO FAR AWAY, Mr Gee, All At Sea.
RACE 8: SEDUCTION QUEEN, Atherton, Budhwar.
BEST: KITTYHAWK FLYER, BELLUCI BABE, SO FAR AWAY