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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: April 7, 2022: HAWKESBURY trainer Mike Gestel had the beaten favorite in the closer at Goulburn today – and yet came up trumps!

While Van Gestel’s $3 favorite Titan Star unfortunately didn’t live up to his name star in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m) and finished fourth on a Heavy 9 surface, nonetheless he could still smile as he bred winner Magic Talent ($3.60).

Fellow Hawkesbury trainers Mitch and Desiree Kearney prepare Magic Talent, and Desiree races her on lease with Van Gestel and his wife Louisa.

“Mike had plenty of horses at the time before Magic Talent raced, and was happy for us to train the mare,” Mitch Kearney explained, looking forward to a satisfying two and a quarter trip home with the couple’s sole starter at the meeting.

“Both Magic Talent and Titan Star were in the raceday stalls next to each other today, and Mike was quick to congratulate us afterwards.”

Team Kearney has now won four races with Magic Talent, who has an obvious penchant for the Goulburn track, having won there on three occasions (including a picnic race in February last year before a Class 1 Handicap six weeks later).

“As well as her liking for Goulburn, Magic Talent seems to really appreciate the bottomless tracks at present,” Mitch Kearney said.

“We started her in a Midway Handicap at Randwick in late February on a Heavy 10, and she ran a terrific fourth at $61 to Mayrose (who subsequently qualified for Saturday’s $500,000 Provincial-Midway Championships Final at Randwick by finishing second to Never Talk in a Newcastle heat on March 17).

“Hopefully, this wet weather sticks around a bit longer, especially as we have just renewed the lease on her with Mike and Louisa.”

Jean Van Overmeire rode Magic Talent, and continued a successful association with the Hawkesbury mare.

He has partnered her for two wins – both at Goulburn – and three placings.

Magic Talent’s defeat of El Prados ($7.50) and Miss Parmigiana ($6) gave the Kearneys their ninth success of the season, bettering last season’s tally of eight.

Their stable star Heza Gentleman has been largely responsible for the couple’s excellent season by winning five races, of which four have been in town, including three during the now concluded Canterbury night session.

. Magic Talent’s Goulburn victory was the 108th winner for Hawkesbury trainers so far this season.

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