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  • John Curtis


WEDNESDAY: May 19, 2021: IF anyone deserves a victory at tomorrow’s eight-race Hawkesbury card, surely it is Graham Brown.

And if weights count for anything, there is a very good chance the long time and well-respected Warwick Farm trainer will notch what would be a popular breakthrough with his sole representative Admit It in the Ascend Trophies & Sales Benchmark 64 Handicap (2100m).

Brown suffered a heart attack at Warwick Farm trackwork one morning last November, and counts himself fortunate to be alive let alone resume his training career.

“It came totally out of the blue,” Brown said this morning. “Luckily, I was at the track and the ambulance was there.

“I had five bypasses, and thankfully feeling better every day now.

“This horse (Admit It) was ready to go, so I passed him over to Allan Denham (fellow trainer at Wyong).”

Denham won first-up with Admit It at Taree in January over 1300m and again three starts later at Port Macquarie in March over 1500m before handing him back to his original trainer.

Brown has since given Admit It three runs – and all have been excellent efforts.

He ran fourth to Blesk in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 31 before seconds at Newcastle (April 15 and May 1) over 1600m and 1885m respectively.

It was his latest run with 59kg and the “company” he kept that day which suggests a return to the winning list tomorrow is a distinct possibility.

Winner Wild Sheila and third placegetter Deepwood Vale oppose him again, but at a real weight disadvantage this time, thanks to Brown’s decision to book the State’s leading apprentice Reece Jones.

With his 3kg provincial claim, Jones, who rode his first Saturday metropolitan winner (Don’tforgetmonica) at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday and has tallied 69.5 victories so far this season, will lessen original topweight Admit It’s impost to 58.5kg.

As a result, he meets Wild Sheila (55kg to 59kg) on 4.5kg better terms and Deepwood Vale (57kg to 59kg) 2.5kg better.

Brown won’t mind either if Hawkesbury’s current “Soft 5” rating remains, as all his gelding’s four wins in a 14-start career have been on rain-affected ground. Nonetheless, he considers him versatile enough to handle all conditions.

A four-year-old son of Canadian stallion Zaha and the St Covet mare Royal Covet, whose sole win was in a 1200m Eagle Farm Maiden in 2000 and was retired from stud duties last year, Admit It has already been a good money-spinner for the trainer’s small Warwick Farm stable of four.

“We bought him very cheaply through the internet,” Brown said.

“Several years back, we had also purchased a horse bred by the same chap from Toowoomba who bred Admit It.

“That horse was Counterfeited, and we won a couple of races with him at Newcastle and Taree, and he also was placed six times.”

The Hawkesbury 2100m assignment is Admit It’s first test beyond 1885m, but his trainer isn’t concerned.

“I’ve always felt he could get over some ground, and we’ve been able to gradually step him up in distance this preparation,” he said.

Given the weight turnaround, Admit It this morning was a somewhat surprising $6 third favorite behind Deepwood Vale ($3.40) and Wild Sheila ($4.40) with

Josh Parr takes over from Lee Magorrian on Deepwood Vale, and Andrew Gibbons continues his association with Wild Sheila, whom he has partnered in two (including her latest Newcastle victory) of her three wins.

Jones, currently ninth in the overall NSW premiership (Blaike McDougall is a runaway leader with 149.5 wins), has three other Hawkesbury bookings.

He rides Notabadbet (HRC Motel Maiden Plate, 1300m), Every Effort (Asbestos Disease Foundation of Australia Class 1 Handicap, 1400m), and Stargirl (Evergreen Turf Class 1 Handicap, 1000m).

Dual acceptors Borsalina and Dunlee will dodge each other at Hawkesbury.

Local trainer Mick Attard has opted to run Borsalina (Andrew Adkins) in the Long Weekend Races 13th June Maiden Handicap (1500m), whilst Wyong trainer Damien Lane has withdrawn Dunlee from that race and instead will start him in the XXXX Gold Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1400m), with Jason Collett aboard.

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup has indicated former New Zealander Mr Bond is unlikely to take his place in the Living Turf Maiden Plate (1800m) field.

“He drew the outside barrier at Newcastle yesterday and there was no point running him, and again has come up with the outside alley at Hawkesbury,” Widdup said.

“A 1600m Maiden Plate at Nowra on Sunday hopefully turns out a better option.”

Widdup’s wife Milissa races Mr Bond, who ran fourth in a Newcastle Maiden (1400m) at his Australian debut on May 1, in partnership with Cambridge Jockey Club chief executive Mark Fraser-Campin.

. The rail is out 3m from the 1100m to 450m for tomorrow’s meeting, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. The track this morning was rated a “Soft 5”.

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