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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: April 27, 2023: WINNING a race with a horse Jason Attard broke in is always significant for he and his wife and training partner Lucy Keegan-Attard.

But it carries even more significance when that horse is related to his former stable star Sons Of John, with whom he won the 2015 Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup and almost upstaged Winx in Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens a few months later.

Lightly-raced Ruby Flyer ($1.85 favorite), who romped home with the 4YO & Up Maiden Plate (1350m), is the first foal of Sons Of John’s older sister Kellyville Flyer.

Attard won five races with the 13-year-old mare, who also notched two Group 3 placings (Belle of The Turf Stakes at Gosford, and Newcastle Newmarket).

Team Attard’s easy victory with four-year-old Ruby Flyer kick-started a good day for Hawkesbury trainers.

Edward Cummings scored with Queenmaker ($3 favorite), who also bolted home with the Midway Class 1 Handicap (1600m), and Garry Frazer produced the well backed Tocomah ($3.90) to land the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m) with 61kg at his first run for six months.

Team Attard posted Hawkesbury’s 150th success of the season before Cummings and Frazer added to the tally.

“Ruby Flyer’s breeder-owner John Kelly didn’t send Ruby Flyer to me until he was two and a half, so he was late being broken in,” Jason Attard said.

“We didn’t push him and as a result he didn’t begin racing until the start of this season.

“I’m not sure of the strength of today’s field, but he could only win as he did by five and a half lengths, so it was good to see him do that.

“Sons of John is now 12 years of age, and living the life on our farm.

“I ride him occasionally. He has a home with us for the rest of his days.”

Cummings, chasing his fourth Group 1 at Morphettville on Saturday (with Arts in the Australasian Oaks, 2000m), was delighted to see Queenmaker do a job on her opposition.

“She has been a bridesmaid more times than I would have liked, but she looked well placed today to post her second win, and Sam (Clipperton) is riding really well,” he said.

“Hopefully we can get a similar result with Arts on Saturday.”

Clipperton quickly had Queenmaker in second place behind Mayapple, and she took over approaching the turn and sealed the result.

Frazer was impressed with Tocomah’s first-up win in the Benchmark 64 Handicap.

“It was a really good effort considering he had that big weight,” he said.

“I was a bit concerned the 1000m might be a bit short, and that’s why you put the top jockeys (Kerrin McEvoy was in the saddle) on.”

“Tocomah won easily at Gosford in July, 2021 at only his second start, but we’ve had our issues with him since.

“Thankfully, he is the soundest he has been at present.”

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