JANUARY 25, 2024: HE’S on the comeback trail!
Heza Gentleman was popular Hawkesbury couple Mitch and Desiree Kearney’s first city winner, was the star of the Canterbury night session in late 2021 and has been off the scene for 17 months.
But the now seven-year-old gelding is ready to resume his racing career.
A winner of seven races – four of them in town – Heza Gentleman has been sidelined with suspensory and sesamoid issues.
However, he has recuperated well and has trialled twice recently, winning his latest over 1000m at Gosford on January 17 when he led throughout, with Jenny Duggan aboard.
Heza Gentleman last raced when unplaced behind Jojo Was A Man in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on June 11, 2022.
“He had a quiet trial (over 902m) at Canterbury on January 9 and blew out late after racing up on the pace,” Mitch Kearney said.
“Jenny got him away quickly at Gosford eight days later and he trialled well (defeating the dual Canterbury winner Conrad).
“Heza Gentleman pulled up well, and is ready to go back to the races.
“But we’re not sure yet just where that will be. It might even be in Brisbane on Saturday week at Eagle Farm.
“We have never had a Brisbane runner before, but there’s a possibility we might head north with stablemate Lady Shenanigans (a Randwick winner at big odds on Boxing Day and a game second at Canterbury last Friday night).
“If we do and there’s a suitable race for Heza Gentleman, then we could take him as well.”
Heza Gentleman, aside from the fact he gave the husband and wife training combination a metropolitan breakthrough at Warwick Farm on August 12, 2020 when, as the $31 outsider in a field of six, he won a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) on a heavy track, is a special horse to the Kearney family.
A son of Nicconi, he is the first foal of the Hard Spun mare Silk Spun, who was Mitch Kearney’s first winner on his home track in July, 2014.
Kearney had been training solo at the time for only about 12 months, and Silk Spun was his eighth starter.
Heza Gentleman has come a long way since winning his first race; beating only four rivals as a $1.70 favorite in an $8000 Maiden Plate (1100m) at a non-TAB fixture at Mudgee in October, 2019.
After his Warwick Farm victory in August the following year, he strung together three wins on wet tracks - all over 1550m and ridden by then apprentice Tyler Schiller – at Canterbury night meetings in November and December 2021, after also scoring over the same distance on the Kensington track a few months later, again on wet ground.