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  • John Curtis


WEDNESDAY: April 28, 2021: HAWKESBURY’S Saturday stand-alone meeting has won out over the opening day of the Adelaide autum carnival at Morphettville for Victorian trainer Kevin Corstens.

She Shao Fly ($175,000 Killahy Equine Hawkesbury Crown, 1300m) and Surreal Image ($200,000 Evergreen Turf Hawkesbury Gold Cup, 1600m) will be Tyabb-based Corstens first runners at Hawkesbury as he chases a pair of Group 3 features.

The stablemates will be floated north tomorrow night and based at Hawkesbury, whilst the trainer will fly to Sydney on Saturday morning.

And he is delighted to have secured Group 1 winning jockeys Rachel King (She Shao Fly), who won last season’s Hawkesbury premiership, and James Innes Jnr (Surreal Image) for his representatives.

“We were thinking about the Group 1 TAB Classic at Morphettville on Saturday with She Shao Fly until one of her owners alerted me to the Hawkesbury meeting,” Corstens explained this afternoon.

“She is better suited at 1300-1400m than the 1200m of the Adelaide race.

“I was happy with her first-up run at Caulfield on April 17 as the 1100m was too short for her.

“Provided she races well on Saturday, she will probably find her way to Brisbane for the winter carnival.

“Surreal Image has already two country Cups in Victoria (St Arnaud over 2000m in October 2019, and 1600m Bairnsdale Cup in March this year), and is in great form, having won two of his last three starts, including a 1600m Benchmark 82 Handicap with 56.5kg at Morphettville on April 17.

“He is a tough front-running type and comes in with only 1kg over the limit (54kg).”

Coincidentally, both Corstens horses began their careers in Adelaide; She Shao Fly with Tony McEvoy and Surreal Image with Richard Jolly.

She Shao Fly, a four-year-old daughter of Epaulette, has won three (including the 1400m Group 3 SAJC Sires Produce Stakes at Morphettville in May, 2019 as a two-year-old) and was placed four times in Listed, Group 3 and Group 2 company in Melbourne last year.

Surreal Image, a five-year-old by Akeed Mofeed, has won six and been placed 10 times from his 33 starts. today listed last Saturday’s Royal Randwick placegetter Royal Celebration (Sam Clipperton) as the $3.80 favorite for the Gold Cup, whilst Godolphin mare Athiri (Josh Parr) is at a similar price heading the market for the Crown.

Another Godolpin mare Varda (Jason Collett) heads pre-post betting for the $140,000 Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m), and the very promising colt Ellsberg (Tim Clark) is a dominant favorite for the $200,000 Group 3 Hawkesbury Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m).

The nine-race stand alone fixture, which boasts three Group 3s and a Listed event, begins at 11.50am with the St Johns Park Bowling Club 2YO Clarendon Stakes (1400m), where recent first-up Hawkesbury winner Gleneagles is the early $3 favorite. The rail is in the TRUE position, with the track in great order and currently rated a “Good 4”.

. Hawkesbury trainer Claire Lever continued her successful first season by scoring with Choosday Nights at Narromine yesterday.

Given a perfect ride by jockey husband Chad, Choosday Nights ($1.95) held out $31 chance Wishfilly in the Class 1/Maiden Plate (1600m) after the pair had staged a thrilling tussle in the straight.

It was Lever’s sixth winner since she took out her licence at the beginning of the season, and she recently qualified two mares, Grace Bay and Diva Bella, for the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick.

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