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  • Provincial Racing NSW


THERE’S a $10m yearling – and then?

At the extreme opposite end of the scale to the Winx filly in this remarkable game we know as racing, two $5000 online buys have given their provincial trainers important results in their own right.

Hawkesbury’s Mick Attard clinched his first city winner as a trainer with Putt For Dough at Royal Randwick on Saturday, whilst Kembla Grange’s Ross McConville achieved a breakthrough at home with a mare who didn’t race until she was nearly four years of age.

Attard’s Putt For Dough (Tom Sherry) ploughed through the heavy ground to land the opener, the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m), at $17, and McConville’s Spotthefaker (apprentice Zac Wadick) sustained a strong surge in the straight to land the Provincial Maiden Handicap (1300m) at $11.

It was also a special day for Putt For Dough’s 86-year-old owner Bernie Young, who joined in with his maiden city success.

Young purchased the gelding online through online in October 2022 after he had finished sixth of eight runners in a Tamworth Maiden (1000m) earlier in the month when on debut.

He didn’t like the Winning Rupert gelding’s name (Vermeulen) and changed it. He says he remembers a golfer telling him many years back that he would “slog” (drive) for show and putt for dough, and liked that.

Attard has since won four races with the now five-year-old; the Randwick victory boosting his earnings to just over $168,000.

“I rode winners in town when I was apprenticed in Sydney back in the 1980s, but this is my first as a trainer,” a delighted Attard said.

“This horse is a handful and a half. He’s got ability of course, but is his own worst enemy.

“I spoke with his previous trainer Jacob Perrett and because he and his wife have a small team, they sold him as he was too hard to handle.”

Attard left home by 8am on Saturday to beat busy traffic and get Putt For Dough to Randwick at least two hours before the 11.25am assignment.

“As he doesn’t like standing in the tie-up stalls, thankfully we didn’t have to put him in there for long as it was the first race,” Attard said.

“Having got my first city winner, now I would like to also win a race with him at our home track’s Saturday stand-alone meeting on Saturday week.

“There’s another Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap over 1500m.”

Putt For Dough was both Attard and Hawkesbury’s first winner of the season at Kembla Grange on August 5 last year, and Crossfire Road gave her trainer another when she scored at Muswellbrook six days later.

It’s been a dry spell since until Randwick on Saturday, but Attard and his wife Sharon are now settled in a new place with five acres between North Richmond and Freeman’s Reach (about 15 minutes to the track on a good day), keeping 10-12 horses in work.

Owner Noel Bitz purchased Spotthefaker as a yearling online through Inglis in June 2021, and has had to be very patient to get a return from the daughter of Bull Point and Star Witness mare La Diosa.

She trialled once in August 2022 at home as an early three-year-old and then again on July 12 last year when third of four runners over 800m.

McConville debuted her eight days later when she ran third in a 1500m 3YO Maiden, also at home.

He gave Spotthefaker three more starts – all unplaced – before spelling her, and she resumed at home on the back of an 820m trial on a “Heavy 10” surface on April 10.

“We didn’t push her as a two and three-year-old because she needed to mature, and that’s why she didn’t begin racing until a late three-year-old,” McConville said.

“I wasn’t confident about her chances first-up, but she won nicely and I’m sure she can win at least another one.”

Spotthefaker’s victory was McConville’s 14th winner of the season, seven of which have been on provincial tracks.


Gosford trainer Carmen Murnane led in her second winner of the season when Finance Partner ($7) scored at Taree on Saturday.

Ridden by Jon Grisedale, the four-year-old gelding took the Class 1 Handicap (1412m).

Finance Partner was also his trainer’s first winner of the season; at Tamworth last November when apprentice Angela Cooper was in the saddle.

Fellow Gosford trainer Angela Davies won the closer at Muswellbrook today with Reggie’s Boy (pictured above). An $8 chance and ridden by apprentice Mitch Stapleford, the gelding had been racing consistently in provincial grade and appreciated dropping back to country opposition in taking the Class 3 Handicap (1280m), maintaining his unbeaten record at the track.

Story John Curtis, April 21, 2024 - Pics Muswellbrook Race Club


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