WEDNESDAY: September 27, 2023: A seven-year-old mare who didn’t start racing until two years ago at Rosehill Gardens today gave her Hawkesbury co-trainers a long overdue breakthrough in town.
But neither husband and wife Phil and Tara Vigouroux were on track to see the well-named Izfallingdown ($20) lead throughout in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (2400m).
“Phil is visiting family in France, and I was at my work, so fellow Hawkesbury trainer Wendy Haynes looked after the mare for us,” Tara Vigouroux said this evening.
“Phil was driving on the motorway and kept getting text messages, so he realised it was probably good news, and I watched the race on my phone at work, and there was plenty of cheering urging our mare to hang on.”
A clever front-running ride from Kathy O’Hara enabled Izfallingdown (a daughter of London Bridge) to dictate terms, and then gamely hold off a late surge from Newcastle mare Classic Deel ($5.50) to post her first city success.
It was also the first city winner for Tara Vigouroux’s father, former Hawkesbury Race Club chairman Ken Quigley, who shares in the lease of the mare.
Unfortunately, he also wasn’t able to attend the races.
“Dad is in Nepean Hospital undergoing tests, and watched the race with Mum on his phone, and was in really good spirits when I spoke with him later,” Tara Vigouroux said.
“I know he would have loved to be at Rosehill, but at least he backed Izfallingdown.
“I spoke with Kathy (O’Hara) this morning, and we thought Frank Express (who ran last of the seven runners) might lead.
“But when Kathy dug Izfallingdown up at the start and nothing else wanted to lead, she took up the running and got some pretty cheap sectionals.
“I’m not sure of our last winner in town, but think it might have been Hesperia.”
The Catbird mare won a Class 3 Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on August 30, 2006 at $13, ridden by Rodney Quinn.
Izfallingdown was bred by Dale Casson and Ross Bone (stud manager at Parsons Creek Farm), and is the last foal of the Danehill Dancer mare Dezhilla, who died four years ago.
“Dale passed away last year, but lived to see the mare’s first two wins (at Orange and Canberra),” Tara Vigouroux said.
“We were able to lease her, and brought in some of our lovely owners to also be involved.
“Izfallingdown didn’t come to us until an early three-year-old, when we broke her in.
“But we didn’t push her, as we trained two of her older half-brothers Azcannyaz and Cass’N’Black (with whom they won a combined six races, and the pair also ran a remarkable 34 placings), and they got better with age.
“That’s why she didn’t have her first start until two years ago at home.”
Team Vigouroux followed their home track success last Thursday with Zouologist, and Izfallingdown was the 30th winner this season for the Hawkesbury training base.