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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: August 21, 2022: WHEN you’re on a good thing, stick to it!

Hawkesbury husband and wife trainers Mitchell and Desiree Kearney have won races this month with bargain buy Lady Shenanigans at tracks where they have never previously had runners.

And it’s likely the team will be the road again with the Zoustar five-year-old next month, chasing a hat-trick at either Mendooran or Tuncurry.

Lady Shenanigans followed his Quirindi victory on August 9 on a heavy track by winning at Gilgandra yesterday.

Ridden by Newcastle apprentice Benjamin Osmond – who had also won on Titan Star at Canberra last Friday for fellow Hawkesbury trainer Mike Van Gestel – Lady Shenanigans ($5) won a tooth and nail struggle down the running to edge out $4.20 favorite Moetta in the Collie Cup (1280m).

The 10-hour round trip for Mitch Kearney and son Jack certainly proved worthwhile.

“We left home at 6.30am and got back at 10pm,” Kearney said today.

“It was a long day but definitely enjoyable.

“Ben did a terrific job on Lady Shenanigans. He rode him exactly the way I described to him beforehand, and he said afterwards our horse wouldn’t give in.

“You have to travel to win races where the horses are suited, and Lady Shenanigans relishes soft ground and has been a great horse to the stable.

“He has pulled up well, and we will now look at either the Mendooran Cup (1200m) on September 3 or The Pearl (a 1200m Benchmark 66 Handicap) at the Cup meeting at Tuncurry on September 9.”

Lady Shenanigans had a Benchmark 61 rating prior to his Gilgandra success, and that will be reassessed by the RacingNSW handicapping panel tomorrow.

What a buy the gelding has been for the Kearneys!

Lady Shenanigans fetched $300,000 when offered as a yearling at the Gold Coast in 2019 and joined leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller’s stable.

But after finishing last in a Rosehill Gardens trial in March last year, he was put up for sale and Desiree Kearney, with a keen eye for a bargain, bought him online the following month for only $1750.

He has now won four races (along with six placings) and collected $91,000 prizemoney – and the Kearneys own him themselves.

. Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup collected a double today on different tracks.

Widdup went to Nowra where Sky Ace ($2.25 favorite) broke through – and easily – in a Maiden Plate (1400m), whilst Verzenay ($7.50) made it two wins from her last three starts, in the Queen Of The Valley Matchmaker (a 1280m Benchmark 66 Handicap for fillies and mares) at Muswellbrook.

Jean Van Overmeire rode Sky Ace, who led and scored by more than three lengths from outsiders Conjola Phoenix ($15) and The Big Biig ($31), and non-claiming apprentice Reece Jones had the mount on Verzenay, who beat Yulong Monoceros ($7.50) and $3.90 favorite Whispering Kate.

Widdup got Sky Ace ready to win first-up at 1400m with only one trial. The four-year-old had not raced since finishing second, also at Nowra, over 2000m at Nowra on April 26.

“He still has a way to go, but is a lot more mature this time in work and his action is a lot better,” Widdup said.

“I’m sure he is going to successfully get over more ground this preparation.

“Verzenay is doing a good job. Her recent wins have been on soft tracks, and she isn’t comfortable on firm ground, as evidenced by her seventh in a Class 1 Handicap at Hawkesbury earlier this month after scoring at Wyong last month.”

Widdup was pleased with Icebath’s first-up seventh to star four-year-old Anamoe in yesterday’s Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick, and now has a couple of options with her.

“She can either go to The Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday week and then Tibbie Stakes (1400m) at Newcastle on September 16 against her own sex en route to the Group 1 Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 1, or to the Golden Pendant (1400m) also against her own sex at Rosehill on September 24 after the Tramway, and then back up a week later in the Epsom,” he said.

“She has shown in the past that she backs up well.”

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