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  • Provincial Racing NSW


Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer will have his first Melbourne starter if connections decide to head south with Hard To Say to run at Flemington on Saturday.

The talented four-year-old was an entry for three states at the weekend, but the Group 1 Doomben Ten Thousand (1200m) in Brisbane was ruled out – leaving Scone and Flemington in the mix.

Hard To Say has 56.5kg in the $200,000 Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at Scone, and 1kg less in the $175,000 Listed Hilton Nicholas Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington.

“At this stage, Melbourne is a likely option,” Deamer said on Tuesday.

“Hard To Say is at his best on good ground, and that will be the determining factor where he goes.”

Deamer has Michael Dee booked for Hard To Say at Flemington, and Ashley Morgan if the gelding stays in NSW and lines up at Scone.

Deamer has never had a Melbourne runner, but is no stranger to looking after horses there when he was a travelling foreman for the late Max Lees, before he began his own training career.

Coincidentally, one of his southern trips was with the 1997 Group 1 VRC Newmarket Handicap winner Ruffles on the “straight six” course at Flemington.

Hard To Say, raced by a Dynamic Syndications syndicate, has been a terrific performer for Deamer and his owners.

He has won seven races and been placed four times, and earned just over $650,000.

Prior to acceptances being taken on Wednesday morning, Scone was rated an improving “Soft 7” and Flemington a “Soft 5”.

Hard To Say hasn’t raced since winning a Benchmark 94 Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 27, and his trainer says he has continued to do well.

Whilst Deamer is no stranger to Melbourne racing, his Exceed And Excel gelding is no stranger to travelling either.

Whilst he has never raced in Melbourne, he has made a number of trips north of the border, and in fact three of his seven victories have been in Queensland.

He landed a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m) at the Sunshine Coast in January last year as a three-year-old, and then Doomben (1050m) and Eagle Farm (1000m) triumphs in August and September.

. Hard To Say is not the only interesting Newcastle nomination for Saturday’s Flemington meeting.

Former Irish four-year-old Adelaide River, now with Kris Lees, is in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m), where he has 58kg.

Owned by Team Williams of Melbourne Cup fame, Adelaide River hasn’t raced since winning the Group 3 Kilternan Stakes (2414m) at Leopold in September last year for his original trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Prior to that, the son of Australia was runner-up in two Group 1s; the Irish Derby (2414m) at The Curragh and GB De Paris (2400m) at Longchamps in France.

Adelaide River has raced only nine times for two wins and six placings.

The Andrew Ramsden carries a “golden ticket” into that famous “two-miler” at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.

Lees’ import Luncies ran second in the 2022 Andrew Ramsden, beaten by Team Williams’ Point Nepean.

Story John Curtis, May 14, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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