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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: September 4, 2023: HAWKESBURY trainer Wendy Haynes created history in 1989 when she became the first female apprentice to win a race at Royal Randwick.

It was not only special but also emotional as her victory on King Knight was for her late father and then Hawkesbury trainer Clive Searle.

Haynes was a long way from NSW racing’s headquarters today, but nonetheless was back in the winning list at Queanbeyan – and again the result was pretty special.

Her victory with Threw ($4.20) – the only horse she has in work – in the Class 1/Maiden Plate (1600m) was her first in more than six years.

Ridden by Jess Taylor, the six-year-old gelding had not been placed in 15 previous starts, but was dropping back to country class after two solid performances last month at home; the latest when sixth to Long Genes (beaten less than three lengths) in a Provincial Maiden Handicap (1500m) on August 17 after taking up the running soon after the start and raced keenly, prompting RacingNSW stewards to question Ellen Hennessy about her riding tactics.

Taylor made a mid-race move on Threw to lead before being headed by eventual third placegetter Up To Me ($5) on straightening, but fought back gamely to hit the front again and then stall off fellow Hawkesbury trainer Claire Lever’s Platinum Asset ($12).

“I ride Threw work at Hawkesbury,” Haynes said this evening as she was just about to arrive home. “Unfortunately that is, because he can be a bit naughty.

“But it was great to get a win with him for his breeder and owner Brian Turton.

“Threw didn’t begin racing until an early four-year-old, and has been a work in progress. I know the breed pretty well.”

Haynes’ previous winner was also for Turton, with the Magic Albert mare Orpentiva (Peter Wells) in a 1600m Maiden Plate at Nowra on February 16, 2017.

That was at her fourth start, and was her sole success in 14 runs before being retired.

An experienced and very competent horsewoman, Hayes met Turton through her work pre-training horses for the late multiple Group 1 winning Sydney trainer Guy Walter, who prepared Threw’s sire Dream Ballad, who won three consecutive races in September 2005, culminating with the Listed Dulcify Quality (1800m) at Randwick.

“Brian asked me to train a grey mare called Silver Albertina (by Canadian Dancer), and I won a Hawkesbury Maiden (1000m) with her in August 2015 at her fourth start,” Haynes, who has been training for more than two decades, said.

Coincidentally, she also started at $26; the same as Orpentiva in her Nowra win in 2017.

Silver Albertiva’s dam Silver Sativa was the first foal of the now deceased mare Sativa, who also produced Threw’s dam Altiva and Orpentiva, which was the last of her foals before she died in October 2013.

Haynes also broke in and pre-trained Group 1 winners such as Belle Du Jour (2000 Golden Slipper), Zagalia (2003 Queensland Oaks) and Tuesday Joy (2007 Coolmore Classic) for John Singleton.

Along with riding her own horse work, she also helps out fellow Hawkesbury trainers, husband and wife Phil and Tara Vigouroux, who kindly lent her their horse float to take Threw to Queanbeyan today.

. It was Ladies’ Day for Hawkesbury trainers at the Queanbeyan meeting.

After having to play “second fiddle” to Haynes in the opening event, Claire Lever clinched her first winner this season when Seaside Sandy ($10), ridden by Kayla Nisbet, landed the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1460m) against her own sex.

She chased Fourcade ($6.50) throughout and wouldn’t give up under Nisbet’s urging, eventually wearing down the leader in the closing stages to post the second win of her seven-start career.

Nisbet also rode Lever’s previous winner, Romantic Rock, at Wellington on May 28 this year.

Seaside Sandy, a four-year-old daughter of Real Impact, fetched $40,000 when sold at the Inglis Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association sale in May 2021.

She won the Gold Nugget 2YO Handicap (1100m) on debut at Bathurst on Anzac Day last year.

“Seaside Sandy showed promise early on, but had a few little issues and had some time off,” Lever said.

“She is quite a big mare, and has taken a while to hit that peak fitness.

“She didn’t really see out the 1800m at her last start at Hawkesbury, but was dropping back to 1460m today and also from provincial to country grade, which was a big difference.

“Kayla rode her a treat and the barrier helped.

“Seaside Sandy is only lightly-raced and still working it out, and hopefully we can pick off up another one with her.”

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