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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KEMBLA Grange trainer Theresa Bateup has decided to take advantage of another heavy track at home tomorrow, and back up last Saturday’s runner-up Mystic Diva in a bid to shed her maiden status.

In confirming the lightly-raced mare will line up in the Canadian Club Class 1/Maiden Plate (2000m) for her second start in five days, Bateup has booked 3kg claiming apprentice Molly Bourke to boost her chances of a breakthrough victory.

This means Mystic Diva will carry only 52kg – 3kg less than the minimum.

A $3000 buy at the 2021 Inglis Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association sale, the four-year-old daughter of Divine Prophet has raced only seven times for two placings.

She ran second to hotpot Yarrawonga in a similar race at Kembla Grange last Saturday, and has pulled up well.

“I didn’t expect her to beat the favorite, who was very well placed after a couple of placings in town at his previous preparation, but I was pleased with her run,” Bateup said today. “I took blinkers off her, and she was strong through the line.

“Mystic Diva hasn’t had a saddle on her since the race, and has spent time in the pool. She has done well, wet ground suits her and the race is falling away in terms of numbers, hence why she is backing up.”

Five withdrawals already have lessened the field to seven.

Senior jockey Jess Taylor rode Mystic Diva last weekend but isn’t riding at this meeting, so Bateup wisely has taken advantage of the claim of apprentice Bourke, who scored on Gosford mare Miss Checkoni at Royal Randwick last Saturday.

Bateup had four acceptors at her home track fixture, but Ghaznavi (Peroni Super Maiden Plate, 1400m) made his debut when fourth at Canterbury yesterday, and won’t back up.

Bourke also rides Paziah for Bateup in the PFD Food Services Provincial Maiden Handicap (1600m), and Kayla Nisbet partners Direct Fire in the Elite Sand & Soil Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m).

Paziah, like Mystic Diva, has been placed twice from seven starts and hasn’t finished further back than fourth at her last four runs.

“This will be both her first test at 1600m and on heavy ground, but she is very honest and again Molly’s claim will indeed be helpful,” Bateup said.

Blinkers went on Paziah before her latest fourth in a 1400m Kembla Grange Maiden Plate on December 14.

Direct Fire is an interesting runner stepping up to provincial grade after a debut success in a Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at the Sapphire Coast in early November before a failure in a similar race over 1010m at Moruya on December 17.

Three-year-old Direct Fire is a younger half-brother (by Dracarys) to Bateup’s five-times winner Crackalacka, who ran third and fourth in two Qualifiers of last year’s Provincial-Midway Championships.

“Fergal Connolly initially bought Direct Fire for $5000 as a weanling at the Gold Coast, and got in touch with me later knowing I had Crackalacka,” Bateup explained. “I purchased him for $15,000.

“I also had him in at Wagga the day after he won at the Sapphire Coast, and I went to the latter even though it was a Class 1 as it didn’t look the strongest of races.

“He is still very raw and stepped awkwardly at Moruya at his next run, and was forced to race wide and lost the plot.

“I feel the 1200m will suit him better, but he is untried on wet ground, so we will find out more from this race.”

Whilst Bateup is running three of her acceptors, Hawkesbury trainer Marc Chevalier has opted to dodge the MWN Sheetmetal 20 Years F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) with his last start home winner Dubai Empress.

“She has had only the two starts, and is still learning and I don’t want to run her on heavy ground,” he said.

“She has done well since her Hawkesbury win on December 10, and I would like to give her one more run in the next couple of weeks before spelling her.”

Chevalier’s good stayer Torrens came through a 1200m gallop well this morning, and will contest Saturday week’s Listed January Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens as a lead-up to the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm on January 26.

. The rail is out 3m from the 1100m to the winning post, and TRUE for the remainder of the circuit. The seven-race programs begins at 2pm.

Michael Craig’s selections are:

Race 1 - 3 Margaret’s Missile will appreciate the longer trip

2 Cohesive has performed well at only 2 starts

8 Oakfield Zena has improved with every run


Race 2 - 3 Denarau had a chequered run last start

2 Whatadilemma may pay to overlook last start

8 Electric Tigress moving up to a suitable trip


Race 3 - 10 Late Night Talking looks ready on debut

2 Restonica placed at both runs back from a break

8 Kimono getting up towards peak form


Race 4 - 2 Zaragoza nearing peak form after 2 starts back

1 Seton Hall very impressive in a recent trial

4 December Sky winner of 2 trials this time in


Race 5 - 2 Katsumoto fighting win on debut

5 Diamond Lucy could be ready first up

7 Go Isla Go is building up a handy record


Race 6 - 3 She’s Unusual beaten fav. at Goulburn

7 Rapid Outlaw resuming and could surprise

10 Underground Music looks a good each way chance


Race 7 - 3 Gelatin strong effort when returning from a spell

1 Tipitina has had 2 easy trials

5 By Nine could race well fresh


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