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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


WEDNESDAY: May 17, 2023: TEAM Attard began the season with a Hawkesbury double and is looking for a similar result again at home tomorrow.

The husband and wife training partnership of Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard won consecutive races with Kozluca (Rachel King) and Sovereign Express (Rory Hutchings) at the opening Hawkesbury meeting of the racing year on August 9, and have a pair of strong chances, with a roughie thrown in for good measure, on this occasion.

Lightly-raced Choisir filly Leandra (King) represents the stable in the opening race, the Sunday Session Raceday 11 June Provincial Maiden Handicap (1300m), whilst last-start winner Ruby Flyer (Jason Collett) and cleverly-named Shooting Pasture (King) both contest the closer, the Irresistible Pools & Spas Midway Class 1 Handicap (1600m).

Leandra ($2) and Ruby Flyer ($4.20) are current favorites with for their respective races, whereas Shooting Pasture is a $41 chance.

“We’re going to the races with two horses who look well placed in their races, and an outsider with a sneaky chance in Ruby Flyer’s race,” Jason Attard said today.

“Leandra is a nice Choisir three-year-old filly who we haven’t pushed at all.

“She was placed on debut at Kembla Grange last November in a 1200m Maiden Plate, and her three subsequent runs have all been in town at Canterbury, and hasn’t been further back than fifth in any of them.

“Leandra wasn’t far away when a first-up fourth in a 1250m 3YO Maiden on May 3, and we’re pleased that Rachel (King) is riding the filly again.

“Whilst Leandra has been competitive in her Sydney runs, we have dropped her back in grade tomorrow to hopefully get her maiden knocked over.

“She has drawn the inside barrier and should be hard to beat.

“There are no concerns about Ruby Flyer stepping up from his latest 1350m win at Wyong to 1600m.

“In fact, we consider he will eventually get even further than that.

“He has done well since his April 27 victory when he scored by more than five and a half lengths.

“Ruby Flyer appears more comfortable on rain-affected ground as his was his mother Kellyville Flyer, who was a real mudlark.

“In saying that, he still goes okay on drier tracks and a Soft 5 tomorrow at Hawkesbury should not be a problem at all.

“Zac Lloyd rode Ruby Flyer at Wyong and is out suspended, and we didn’t consider booking another apprentice to lessen his 59kg topweight.

“Jason Collett is a brilliant rider, and we try to use him on our horses whenever the opportunity permits.”

Whilst Ruby Flyer understandably is clearly the more dominant of the two stablemates in market assessments, Jason Attard has advised punters not to overlook Shooting Pasture.

“I wouldn’t be dismissing her chances,” he said.

“Circumstances were against her at her last run at Wyong (when 11th to fellow Hawkesbury representative Queenmaker, who subsequently ran well in town, in a similar race at Wyong on April 27).

“Shooting Pasture drew one from the outside barrier that day, and had to race wide.

“She is more favorably drawn tomorrow, and we will ride her cold to give her the opportunity to finish the race off.

“Shooting Pasture is a very fit mare, and I’m definitely not writing her off. She has a sneaky chance at big odds.”

With Hawkesbury jockeys’ premiership pacesetter Zac Lloyd (9 wins) on the sideline, Rachel King, a previous winner of the Hawkesbury title, has the opportunity to draw level when she partners favorite Leandra for Team Attard in the opening event.

King also rides Tina’s Rock ($21) for Kylie Gavenlock, Queen Maxima ($16) for Matt Smith, recent winner Kunnese ($4.20) for Hawkesbury trainer Ed O’Rourke, Oakfield Redgum ($19) for Damien Lane, and Shooting Pasture in the final event.

. Long-standing Hawkesbury Race Club employee Rick Johnston officiates at his final meeting tomorrow as racecourse manager before transitioning to an important venue caretaker role.

“The track has had a good break since our stand-alone meeting on April 22, and is in good order,” Johnston said.

We’ve had virtually no rain in the past 24 hours (only 0.5mm), the track is in the TRUE position and is currently a Soft 5.

“I’m sure we’re in for a really good meeting.”

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