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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


TUESDAY: July 19, 2022: THE harder you work, the luckier you get!

Hawkesbury husband and wife trainers Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard’s success with Sovereign Express at Wyong today was their eighth winner this season – nearly triple last season’s number.

Reflective indeed of the amount of work the couple has done at their 15-acre Grose Vale property to give their horses every chance to be competitive whenever they race.

“There have been occasions we haven’t been able to get to Hawkesbury to work our horses because of road closures, but we haven’t been affected at home,” Lucy Keegan-Attard said this evening.

“We have spent considerable time and money improving the farm, and it is showing in our results this season.

“Even in times when the floods have hit the area, we have been able to get winners after that (with Oh Golly Gosh and Knight earlier in the year, and now Sovereign Express after the latest flood).

“Our arena at the farm is an acre in size, and we can walk, trot and then canter the horses and work them in an alternate direction.

“After a warm down, they can often swim a lap in the channel.

“Once they’re fit, it’s a matter of keeping them that way and it’s also a mental freshness having a different routine instead of going to the track.”

Team Attard’s eight winners this season have all been at provincial level, beginning with Coppersonic at home last September and followed by Oh Golly Gosh (Hawkesbury again, in October), Mirror Model and Oh Golly Gosh at Newcastle in January and March respectively, Knight at Hawkesbury’s Saturday stand-alone meeting in April, Sovereign Express at Newcastle and Notifies at Hawkesbury last month, and Sovereign Express today.

“Some horses of course have to go to the country, but we have been able to focus more on provincial racing this season,” Lucy Keegan-Attard said.

“And our results are a tribute to our wonderful team of Courtney, Caitlin, Neo and Anne, who do such a fantastic job and are the backbone of our stable.”

A solid $3.20 second favorite, the lightly-raced Sovereign Express (Rory Hutchings) made it two on the bounce by defeating $2.40 favorite Believe So and Beenvane ($4.40) in the Class 1 Handicap (1600m).

Having only his sixth start, the four-year-old son of Bullet Train had broken through at Newcastle in a 1400m Maiden Plate at Newcastle on June 25.

Sovereign Express carries the same colours as Sons Of John (being cared for in retirement at the couple’s Grose Vale property), whom Jason Attard trained to win the 2015 Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup, and a couple of months later as a $31 outsider went within a whisker of undoing the mighty Winx’s remarkable winning stretch, in the Group 2 Theo Marks Quality (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens.

“We are very appreciative of Sovereign Express’ owner John Kelly and his family for both entrusting horses with us and supporting us as he does,” Lucy Keegan-Attard added.

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