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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: June 29, 2023: A home track treble today has put Hawkesbury trainers on the verge of cracking a double century in a season for the first time ever.

Terry Croft and Steve O’Halloran each won with their only runner at the meeting, and Team Attard joined the party to boost the number of winners since last August to 188, already a record – with a month remaining before the current racing year ends on July 31.

Croft took the Godolphin Family Fun Day 9 July 3YO Maiden Handicap (1400m) with Gallic Fox ($8), O’Halloran the Richmond Club Provincial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m) with Boomsong ($4 favorite), and co-trainers Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard the Lander Toyota Class 1 Handicap (1300m) with Leandra ($2.25 favorite).

Croft pulled the right rein with his dual acceptor, choosing the 1400m event rather than the slightly shorter 1300m Blakes Marine Midway Maiden Plate.

“I studied the form and felt this was the easier race,” he said.

“It worked out well, even though the short-priced favorite (Lara’s Laulet) was beaten in the 1300m Maiden.”

Croft, because of his liking for the Foxwedge breed, paid $15,000 for Gallic Fox at the 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale.

“His older brother (Infamous Fox) is a stakes winner in South Africa,” he said.

“Gallic Fox is no star, but he did a good job today after racing wide and without cover.”

In a tense finish, Croft’s three-year-old, ridden by Robbie Dolan, just edged out Shadow Dane ($21) and $3.10 favorite Enotis.

“It’s been a good season with eight winners, but with a bit of luck it would have been even better as we’ve had a lot of placings (25), and quite a few have been seconds,” Croft said.

O’Halloran made it two wins this month for the well-known Hannon family when successful with Boomsong, who was having his first start for him.

With Chad Lever aboard, Boomsong also did a good job, scoring first-up with only one trial under his belt.

He was strongest to the post to defeat Boss ($4.60) and Mr. Bingo ($6.50).

Boomsong wasn’t the quickest into stride, and his trainer considered it may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“If he had jumped on terms, there would have been three of them cutting at one another in the lead, and been a sitting shot for another coming from behind,” O’Halloran said.

“Chad rode Boomsong when he won the trial at home last week, and I’m glad I had him on board today.

“The horse seems to race best on the fresh side, and I’ll see how he pulls up and does in the next few days before determining his next race.”

Determined Mink, who also won in the Boomsong colours, at Newcastle on June 10, has been sent for a spell.

The Hellbent two-year-old filly has raced only four times, and O’Halloran is convinced she will be an even better prospect next season.

Team Attard won its second race in six days, Choisir filly Leandra following stablemate Ruby Flyer’s impressive Newcastle victory last Saturday.

Leandra, ridden by Jason Collett, outgamed Moorestown ($7.50) and Impressiero ($17) to post her second win at her seventh start.

“She will be better off around 1600m, but hadn’t raced for four weeks and this Class 1 looked a nice target,” Jason Attard said.

“Admittedly, it took her the whole straight to get there, but she is definitely looking for further.”

Attard also was pleased with the performances of Proceed (third in the 1300m Midway Maiden Plate) and Stars and Bars (fifth in Boomsong’s race).

“Proceed was having only his second start, and is bred to stay,” he said. “We thought he was a Top 4 chance and he ran well.

“Stars and Bars was terrific, running home from well back to be beaten less than two lengths. He hadn’t started since early June and was coming back from 1200m.

“It’s been a really good season for Lucy and myself, especially as our wins have been at either the provincials or in town.

“That was our goal to improve the quality of our horses, and thus not to have travel as far to win races.

“Lucy is away visiting family in the UK, and I have to give great credit to our team at home, who do a fantastic job.

“They all work hard, and the results are showing.”

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