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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT’S all in the family!

Leading Kembla Grange trainers Rob and Luke Price’s achievement to win first-up with $51 bolter Noble Soldier at Royal Randwick yesterday after nearly a year on the sidelines really should not have been the big surprise it was to many.

Along with the fact the father and son combination is acknowledged as a real force in the training ranks, they know plenty about the six-year-old gelding’s “noble” family.

In fact, they have won 21 races with progeny of the now retired mare Princess Fiorella, who ironically was winless from 15 starts and was placed only once before embarking on a successful breeding career.

Noble Joey (eight wins), Noble Soldier (eight wins), Noble Belle (three wins) and Noble Attack (two wins) were all bred from different stallions by the mare’s owner Warren McMaster.

Noble Joey has been retired, Noble Belle died in 2016, and Noble Attack, like yesterday’s winner, is also in training with the Price boys.

Noble Soldier, a son of Time For War, had not raced since finishing fifth to Spacewalk in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 23.

“Yes we’ve got to know the family pretty well,” co-trainer Luke Price said today.

“Noble Soldier has always been a bit quirky and was a bit wild earlier in his career.

“He has had a tendency to carry on coming home from the track, and that’s how one morning he sustained a hairline fracture of the hip and pelvis.

“He slipped over and spreadeagled his legs.

“We didn’t initially pick up the extent of what had happened, and eventually got a scintigraphy done when we weren’t happy with him.

“That revealed the injuries, and the only cure was box rest.

“Thankfully, his behaviour has been good since we put him back into training about 14 weeks ago.

“He had done plenty of work along with the one trial we gave him at Hawkesbury (when fifth over 800m to last Wednesday’s impressive city winner Shaken on December 12), and when we noticed this race, it was a perfect opportunity to kick off his career again.

“Our plan was for Brock Ryan to sit two or three pairs back on Noble Soldier, but when trapped wide early, he wisely allowed the horse to go forward and race outside the leader With Your Blessing.

“It was a smart move which won him the race.”

Despite his lack of recent racing, Noble Soldier gallantly staved off With Your Blessing ($5.50) in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) to take his earnings to just over $377,000 from 31 starts, which have also included seven minor placings.

It’s been a great almost five months of the current season for the Price boys, with Noble Soldier their 23rd winner since August 1.

They have Invade and Conquer engaged at Randwick in the opening race on Boxing Day, but may not run him.

“Invade and Conquer has been placed at four of his five starts (including both this preparation), and deserves to break through,” Luke Price said.

“We might wait for a 1400m Maiden against his own sex at home on Saturday.”

Whilst the Price boys have won with four of the “Noble” progeny, their only “blemish” was with the now retired 10-year-old Noble Command, who couldn’t manage a placing from 10 starts.

“He was very slow, but at least has found his forte away from the racetrack,” Luke Price. “He competed in the Equimillions in Sydney a couple of months ago in the dressage section.”

. The Price boys’ first-up victory with Noble Soldier highlighted a terrific day for provincial trainers at three separate venues.

Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle also was a Randwick winner with Cripps Tonite ($8), whilst Kris Lees won the Listed Bernborough Plate (1600m) at Eagle Farm with $2.40 favorite Acquitted, along with the Provincial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) at Wyong with a resuming Oakfield Wallaby ($13), with whom he has now won four races from five starts since taking over the mare’s training earlier this year.

Lees’ two winners took his career tally to 2600.

Provincial trainers won four of the seven races at Wyong – and all were at good odds. Fellow Newcastle trainer Paul Perry won with debutante Pearls Treasure ($13), the first foal of the now deceased unraced Onemorenomore mare Lady Of Prospect.

Gosford’s Adam Duggan won with Hawkwind ($9) and Hawkesbury’s Marc Chevalier with Everyone’s A Star ($10).

Story John Curtis, December 24, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos

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