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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


TUESDAY: December 21, 2021: DESIREE Kearney clearly has an eye for a bargain!

A horse she paid only $2000 for online in May last year as an unraced two-year-old has now won two races to go with his six placings for earnings of $66,545 (including a BOBS bonus).

“Family horse” Carlisle Bay ($3.60 favorite), aided by a dashing Mitchell Bell ride, was too good for his rivals in the Benchmark 66 Handicap (1300m) at Scone today – and it’s looking like it won’t be his last victory either.

“He’s a big kid and still maturing,” Desiree Kearney, who trains jointly at Hawkesbury with husband Mitch, said on her way home of the Smart Missile four-year-old, who was having his second start since a spell and has come back a better horse.

“Once he learns how to place his legs when he races, he will improve two to three lengths,” Mrs Kearney said.

“And he is going to appreciate even longer distances than today’s race.”

Bell didn’t hesitate to let Carlisle Bay roll to the front when he was trapped wide early from an awkward draw, and once he got into rhythm, the result was never in doubt.

The gelding “kicked” on straightening and comfortably held out Daichi ($5) and The Snooperstar ($5.50).

Passed in at the 2019 Inglis Classic yearling sale at $60,000, Carlisle Bay found his way into two stables without racing before being placed on the market with Inglis Digital.

“I’m always on the lookout for a bargain,” Mrs Kearney said. “I liked his breeding, especially on his dam’s side as his mother Caribbean Concert won two races (one at 2000m) and his granddam Nanny Maroon won 11 races (including six at Rosehill Gardens).

“He ran fourth on a heavy track in February last year, and looked very immature. I thought he was worth a punt.

“Sometimes it pays off, and this time it certainly has.”

Carlisle Bay is raced by the popular husband and wife team, along with Mitch’s brothers Shane and Todd, Desiree’s father Bill Brewer and his best mate John Cotter.

“We’ve got a great group racing this horse, and Dad has strapped him twice for both his wins,” Mrs Kearney said.

“It was also special for Mitchell Bell to win on Carlisle Bay today as he is married to our cousin Hollie (fellow jockey Robbie Brewer’s sister).”

Carlisle Bay was Team Kearney’s eighth and final winner of the 2020-21 racing season when he won his first race at Wyong on July 29 – and today’s victory has edged them closer to achieving their 2021-22 goal.

“Our goal at the start of this season was to train more winners than last season, and we have already got seven in just under the first five months,” Mrs Kearney said.

“Things are going really well.”

. HOOFNOTE: The Kearneys also paid only $1000 for Lady Shenanigans, a Zoustar four-year-old who also began life with a leading Sydney stable but did not race.

Whilst he is yet to win, he has earned $13,000 and his trainers believe a breakthrough is just around the corner.

Hawkesbury trainers are also going well, with Carlisle Bay’s win being the 65th so far this season.

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