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  • John Curtis


THURSDAY: August 5, 2021: MISSION achieved!

Hawkesbury trainer Matt Vella dearly wanted to achieve a victory with beautifully-bred mare Roam Free before she heads to stud – and he did that at Kembla Grange today.

Having only her fourth start, Roam Free (Rachel King) lived up to her $2.05 favorite price by winning the Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1000m).

She surged strongly over the closing stages to overhaul Mancconi ($9), with Bowie Of Dubai ($12) a strong-finishing third.

Vella credited the application of blinkers as the catalyst for Roam Free’s breakthrough.

“I’m sure they made the difference,” he said this evening. “I would have preferred 1200m for her, but it looked a winnable race.

“Roam Free is related to Redoute’s Choice (the now deceased champion sire who raced only 10 times for five wins, four of them at Group 1 level), and I was very keen to get a win on the board for her owner Sir Owen Glenn before she is retired to stud,” Vella said.

“She is booked to go to a stallion next month, and may have one more run, but that’s not definite.

“Roam Free has had issues, and that’s the reason she has had only a few starts.”

Roam Free’s dam Princess Narine (by Red Ransom), who won four races including two in Melbourne, is the second foal of Monsoon Wedding, a full sister to Redoute’s Choice.

Princess Narine missed twice to Criterion after foaling Roam Free, and has since produced a full sister to today’s winner and another filly by Rubick.

“We sold Roam Free’s younger sister for $340,000 at this year’s Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale,” Vella said.

She has gone to the Victorian stables of WA trainer Lindsey Smith, who now also operates out of Warrnambool.

Accomplished horseman Vella has just completed his most successful season, preparing nine winners from his Glenn Haven Racing base at Hawkesbury, but work commitments forced him to miss Roam Free’s victory.

“I had a few breakers to do, but was happy to see her win just the same,” he said.

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