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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KRISTEN Buchanan says her season is back on track following four winners at three different tracks in the past week.

The Wyong trainer’s double at Gosford yesterday with Cecil Street Lad and Drama Dodger followed victories at Tamworth last Sunday with Luskaire and on her home track last Thursday with Gardenzio, who will be chasing a hat-trick the next time he steps out.

Those victories lifted her season’s tally so far to 18, following 37 winners last season and 34 and 32 in the previous two seasons.

“We hit a decent flat spot there for a while as most trainers go through from time to time,” Buchanan said today.

“But thankfully our season is picking up again.

“As well as our two Gosford winners yesterday, Gulf Of Tomini ran really well when second at Eagle Farm yesterday at $19 in a Benchmark 68 Handicap (1800m).

“He drew near the outside and made a long wide run, so his performance was full of merit.

“Gulf Of Tomini likes his runs spaced, so I will bring him home and try to find another suitable race for him in Queensland in a few weeks.

“He has now been placed at his last three starts, and deserves another win.”

Buchanan was thrilled with the victories at Gosford of Cecil Street Lad and Drama Dodger.

The former, an ex-Victorian, won his second race since coming north, in the Provincial Benchmark 68 Handicap (1000m) at $4.80, whilst lightly-raced filly Drama Dodger is heading in the right direction, having won two of her four starts.

Cecil Street Lad, a seven-times winner in three States who scored on debut at Sandown in July 2021 as a late two-year-old, joined Buchanan’s team last year and won first-up for her at Canterbury in August in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).

“I felt he was pretty well placed yesterday,” Buchanan said.

“He needs to get cover early, and when he does, has a great turn of foot as he showed in this win.

“Cecil Street Lad was narrowly beaten in a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m) at Randwick last October when he led, and I would like to have another shot at a Saturday Midway with him in town.”

Buchanan is delighted with the progress of Drama Dodger (pictured $3.10 favorite), who made the transition from winning a 1000m Muswellbrook Maiden on heavy ground on February 19 when resuming to taking a Class 1 Handicap (1200m) at the provincials.

“She is a lovely filly with a lot of upside,” she said.

“Koby Jennings has ridden her both times, and said she felt 10 lengths’ better on the way to the start yesterday than in the race.

“It’s all happening a bit too fast for her and she is still learning, but definitely has ability.”

Drama Dodger, a three-year-old daughter of Nicconi, was bred by long-time client Ken Williams from the Pure Theatre mare Pure Drama, who won four races, including two in town at Canterbury and Rosehill.

“Wyong Race Club chairman John Waghorn approached me 12 months ago about getting a horse for a syndicate to race,” Buchanan explained.

“I took my time until I felt a good one was available. This filly came along and Ken offered to lease her and be in the syndicate as well.

“They are all very excited now, having already won two races.”

Leading trainer Ciaron Maher’s Newcastle stable produced a Gosford winner in Single Benefactor ($2.50 favorite), whose rider Louise Day found a gap in the straight at a crucial stage to narrowly prevail in a tense finish to the Super Maiden Plate (1000m).

The Not A Single Doubt filly is the sixth foal of city winner Houston Benefactor, and fetched $725,000 as a 2022 Gold Coast Magic Millions yearling.

Single Benefactor was having only her fourth start and resuming after seconds at Kembla Grange and Canterbury last November.

Hawkesbury trainer James Ponsonby clinched his 11th winner of the season when Sonny Fella (Andrew Gibbons) took the 1600m Class 1 Handicap at Gosford as the $31 rank outsider of the field.

Along with Brudenell’s Listed Caulfield victory yesterday in the Bel Esprit Stakes (1200m), Kris Lees also scored with $2.60 favorite Jovial Kid (Raymond Spokes) at the Kempsey meeting.

Fellow Newcastle trainer Jay Hopkins also was a Kempsey winner, scoring with $4.20 chance Prefer To Be Ready (Jon Grisedale).

Patrick Scorse rode a double at Gunnedah, including the Boggabri Cup, just days after returning from a lengthy enforced stint on the sidelines.

Story John Curtis, March 17, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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