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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: June 13, 2021: WHEN Hawkesbury trainer Garry White was left searching for a jockey to partner five of his six runners at home today, he looked no further than the State’s premiership pacesetter Blaike McDougall.

And it could not have worked out better as Albury-based McDougall clinched an excellent training triumph for White by landing a confident plunge on lightly-raced War Cabinet ($3.30 favorite) in the Nepean Boltmaster Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m).

Having only his eighth start and his first since last September, the well-bred Camelot five-year-old beat another Hawkesbury representative, Brad Widdup’s Eminencia ($6), and Flying Scotsman ($5).

McDougall also was placed on stablemates Pending ($10), Alvin The Bold ($4.40) and My Girl Ruby ($20) along with Matt Smith’s American Salute ($14), making the trip well worthwhile.

“Rachel King rides most of our horses, but she wasn’t coming back after riding at the Stradbroke meeting at Eagle Farm yesterday,” White explained this evening.

“So I rang Tye Angland and asked him to see if Blaike would come to Hawkesbury even though he also rode in the Stradbroke.”

White recalled McDougall had ridden once for him previously at Canberra on January 22 when he finished second on Dreamline before later winning on stablemate Timely Shadow.

McDougall has been riding at a stack of NSW meetings as he bids to win this year’s State premiership, and currently has a narrow lead over Tommy Berry.

“Blaike has ridden 172 winners overall this season in Australia, and is second only to WA’s Chris Parnham in the national premiership,” White said.

War Cabinet, whose dam Leanders Choice (by Redoute’s Choice) died last August, is raced jointly by the trainer’s major client, Grahame Mapp’s Hobartville Stud, and Queenslander Russell Caporn.

But it has taken White until now to get him into the winning list after he was injured on debut when placed in a 1300m Maiden Plate at Kembla Grange in February, 2019.

“War Cabinet sustained a serious injury to his near front foot in an incident during the race,” he explained.

“Even though he was placed at two of his next four runs after he returned from a spell, he was never really right and the coronet band kept troubling him.

“I’ve always had a bit of an opinion of him, so I eventually got a blacksmith to cut the problem area right out and let it grow back.

“War Cabinet is fine now, and I was confident he would be hard to beat today. He is really untapped and has a hell of a lot of improvement in him.

“Being by Camelot, he should get over more ground.”

White also has Leanders Choice’s last foal, a nice yearling colt by American Pharoah.

. Today’s outcome was far better for McDougall than when he rode at Hawkesbury on June 23 last year when RacingNSW stewards outed him for six weeks when he presented with an unauthorised pair of riding boots and gave false and misleading evidence before eventually admitting the boots belonged to him.

McDougall was leading the State premiership at the time, and it proved a costly penalty as he lost the title to Newcastle’s Andrew Gibbons by only 1.5 wins.

. Sam Clipperton took riding honours at today’s meeting with a treble, scoring on favorites Kittyhawk Flyer ($1.80) and Shotgun Alli ($2.70) and second favorite California Sky ($3.10).

Kittyhawk Flyer’s victory in the Bert Heterick Memorial 3YO Maiden Plate (1000m) increased Mark Newnham’s lead to five in the trainers’ premiership.

With 14 wins, he has a handy buffer over Kris Lees and co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, who celebrated a double today with California Sky and Peekays Legacy ($5.50).

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