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THERE would no better time for Kerry Parker to win Wednesday’s Provincial-Midway Championships Wild Card at Newcastle!

Having announced on Thursday the retirement of his popular champ Think It Over, the equally popular Kembla Grange trainer is saddling up Well Timed, who races in the same royal blue and orange colours as his illustrious stablemate.

In normal circumstances, Think It Over would have been lining up to attempt to win the $5m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 13 for a second time, having clinched a $41 upset victory two years ago after a dashing Nash Rawiller ride.

Though he won’t be there, Parker still has an opportunity to have a feature race runner on the same program.

Brock Ryan will ride Well Timed in Wednesday’s $150,000 Wild Card (1400m), where the three placegetters all will secure the final spots in the 15-horse PMC Final field.

Think It Over bows out as a remarkable eight-year-old, who raced 42 times for 14 wins (three at Group 1 level) and 13 placings, and earnings of nearly $8.5m.

Under Parker’s skilful management, he made a successful comeback from a serious tendon injury sustained in 2022 to capture two Randwick 1600m features; the 7 Stakes last September, defeating Zaaki and Fangirl, and then the Group 1 Verry Elleegant Stakes four weeks ago, relegating Fangirl and Lindermann into the minor placings.

The gelding’s regular rider Nash Rawiller raised concerns about Think It Over’s action in the straight when fourth in last Saturday’s Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens.

“After discussing everything with owner Richard Johnston, the decision has been made to retire Think It Over,” Parker said.

“He owes us nothing, and has nothing more to prove.

“Think It Over came to me out of left field, and was one right out of the box.

“He was a wonderful racehorse, and will be well looked after for the rest of his days.”

Whilst the cleverly-named Well Timed (out of the Fastnet Rock mare Clock Watcher) obviously has a mighty long way to go to even match Think It Over’s deeds, his trainer is excited by his progress.

The lightly-raced Nicconi three-year-old won two in a row before stepping way up in grade and finishing third to Ruby Flyer and Victory Lane in his home track PMC Qualifier (1400m) last Saturday.

“It was a sensational run,” Parker said. “He had just won a Nowra Maiden and Hawkesbury Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (both over 1100m), and went to a Class 5 Plate.

“Well Timed drew the outside in a field of 15, made the running and gave a ton of cheek on a heavy surface.

“The two that beat him home finished wider on the track.”

Twenty-one entries were received for the Wild Card – which is for both eligible provincial and Midway horses – and Well Timed (56kg) is guaranteed a start, being 15th in ballot order with 16 permitted to start.

Story John Curtis, March 28, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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