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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

TORRENS' TRAINER CHASING A COUPLE OF "FIRSTS"


MONDAY: February 12, 2024: WHILST Marc Chevalier is setting stable star Torrens for a major autumn goal, his immediate focus is on his home track when racing resumes tomorrow.

The Hawkesbury trainer is looking forward to hopefully achieving two “firsts”; one which will definitely happen without any sweat, and the other depends on a result.

Chevalier has never saddled so many runners at a meeting - his foursome is The Crimson Idol, Criminal Art, Spanner and Pitavago – and he is keen to get a breakthrough with Criminal Art, and shake off her “bridesmaid tag”.

With 13 horses in work at present, including Australia Day Cup runner-up Torrens, who is being set for the $2m Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 13 (Day 2 of The Championships), he is excited to take almost a third of his team to the races.

Rory Hutchings rides The Crimson Idol (Workers LifestyleGroup F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1400m), Spanner (Irresistible Pools & Spas Super 3YO Maiden Handicap, 1100m), Pitavago (Pioneer Services Provincial Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1100m), and Louise Day has the mount on Criminal Art in the Ascend Trophies Midway 4YO & Up Maiden Handicap, 1100m.

“I consider Criminal Art is my best chance,” Chevalier said.

“I have had this race picked out for a while for her, being a Maiden for four-year-olds and upwards and restricted to Midway trainers.

“Criminal Art was placed five times in a row last preparation, and was given a break after her last run at Hawkesbury in October.

“She has come back a bit sharper in her work, and this doesn’t look the strongest race.

“Pitavago ran well at her last start when third at Goulburn in a Benchmark 66 Handicap (1000m) at Goulburn on January 30.

“She has come on nicely since that run and, if she can have some luck from her awkward draw, I’m sure she can go well again.”

Chevalier gave seven-year-old stallion Torrens a week’s break after his gallant Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) second at Warwick Farm on January 26, leading virtually from pillar to post before being nabbed at the end by odds-on favorite Naval College.

“He is in good order, and I’m looking to kick him off again either at Randwick on March 9 (Listed Citty Stakes, 2000m) or the following day in the Listed Canberra Cup over the same distance,” he said.

Chevalier, understandably, is hoping for a rain-free Sydney autumn.

He had to abandon Sydney Cup plans with Torrens last year when the horse pulled a muscle in the lead-up, the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m), on a heavy track at Randwickand could not run.

Fellow Hawkesbury trainers Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard withdrew Stars And Bars from a Newcastle engagement last Saturday to contest tomorrow’s Pioneer Services Benchmark 64 Handicap.

“Being second up it made sense to stay at home, especially when he drew well enough,” Jason Attard said.

“And we were able to again secure Jason Collett to ride him.”

Collett rode Stars And Bars when he resumed in a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 20, when eighth to Willaidow.

He has partnered the five-year-old on four occasions, and won a Newcastle Provincial Maiden (1300m) on him in May last year, and also when he finished second at his next start in a Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m) at Kembla Grange.

Interestingly, Stars And Bars is yet to win on his home track in six starts; his sole placing being a second to Secret Revolution in an 1100m Maiden in April last year, prior to breaking through at Newcastle.

But he did win an 800m trial at home in May, 2022 before embarking on his racing career.

Team Attard’s dashing front-runner Luvoir will next be in action at Randwick on Saturday in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1600m), with last season’s champion apprentice Zac Lloyd back on board.

Lloyd has been aboard Luvoir in all four city wins since joining the Attard stable, but was unable to ride the gelding when he took on Listed company in the Carrington Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on January 27 when sixth to Zou Tiger after being slowly away.

. The rail is in the TRUE position for Hawkesbury’s opening meeting of the calendar year, and a “Soft 5” rating was posted this morning by racecourse manager Kyle Cassim. He track has received 58.5mm of rain in the past week, but nil in the last 24 hours.

 

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