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  • Provincial Racing NSW


HAWKESBURY trainer Marc Chevalier is excited about stable star Torrens’ return to racing at Royal Randwick tomorrow.

Buoyed by a Newcastle breakthrough today with lightly-raced filly Without You, Chevalier declared Torrens “is the fittest I have ever had him starting a campaign”.

The stallion’s Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) assignment is the beginning of a preparation which his trainer hopes will culminate with the $2m Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 13.

“I’m really happy with Torrens,” Chevalier said. “He has a good track which suits him, and I expect him to race well even though I know he will be better as he stretches out over further.”

Regular rider Jenny Duggan is aboard Torrens, who hasn’t raced since almost landing the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm on January 26, caught only in the shadows of the post by hotpot Naval College.

Torrens this afternoon was a $19 chance with following Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ decision to withdraw Parramatta Cup runner-up Almania, and go to Sunday’s Listed Canberra Cup (2000m) instead.

Chevalier was delighted to get Sepoy three-year-old Without You ($2.15 favorite) on the board in the Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m) at Newcastle.

It was only her fifth start, and second at 1600m.

A heady Reece Jones ride enabled $5000 weanling purchase Without You to defeat Wyong mare Sanbano ($18), who had made a bold bid for victory at her second start after a long break.

“In the small field, Reece made sure he put the filly into the race early and it proved a winning move,” Chevalier, who clinched his fourth success of the season, said.

“He rode Without You really well, and it was great to get her first win on the board.

“Even though it wasn’t a strong race, she had to be ridden upside down as the pace wasn’t on and still won, so it was a good effort.

“We have taken our time with her, and I feel she will stay.”

Along with Torrens, Kembla Grange trainer Brett Lazzarini is testing his three-year-old Steel Blaze (Tom Sherry) as an ATC Australian Derby hope by tackling older horses in the Randwick City Stakes.

Steel Blaze did a good job to win a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1900m) at Canterbury on February 23, and Lazzarini considers tomorrow’s race is an ideal lead-up to the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in a fortnight when he returns to his own age.

Chevalier’s fellow Hawkesbury trainer Steve O’Halloran is testing Nymphadora (Tom Sherry) as a Golden Slipper prospect, in tomorrow’s Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) against her own sex.

O’Halloran has given the filly plenty of time to recover from a hard run when an excellent sixth to Fully Lit (beaten less than two lengths) in the $1m Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Randwick on February 10.

Story John Curtis, March 8, 2024 - Pics Steve Hart Photographics


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