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  • Provincial Racing NSW


MARC Chevalier didn’t want to let Pitavago go when her previous owners decided not to continue racing her.

So he and his wife Charlotte bought her online in June last year for only $4250 – and she has already repaid them in spades, earning just over $25,000 from three starts, including a first-up Taree victory in late January.

Expatriate Frenchman Chevalier, who launched his training career at Hawkesbury not quite two years ago, takes six-year-old Helmet mare Pitavago to Gosford’s Anzac Day meeting tomorrow hoping to add another win to her record along with earning a further $21,000, in the Blue Haven Pools Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1000m).

He has booked 3kg claiming apprentice Julia Presits to ride both Pitavago and stablemate Black Alexandra in the Green Aspect Consulting Maiden Plate (1100m).

“Julia has only recently resumed riding after fracturing a collarbone in a track accident at Warwick Farm in late December,” Chevalier said today.

“She won on The Crimson Idol for me at Hawkesbury last November, and also rode the mare on resumption when she ran second in the closer at Newcastle last Saturday.

“Julia rides well, and I want to give her the chance to get back into the winning list.”

Chevalier earlier paid $13,000 for Pitavago from her original owner Dr Ulysses Crosson, but she failed to win for her syndicate of owners, and they chose to move her on.

“Pitavago is quite a fragile mare, and isn’t comfortable on pretty soft tracks,” he explained.

“I had enough faith in her ability not to let a good mare go, and whilst we couldn’t afford a lot of money, thankfully we were able to buy her ourselves fairly cheaply.”

Pitavago followed her first-up win in a 1000m Maiden Handicap at Taree on January 27 by stepping up to provincial company and being placed at both Kembla Grange and Hawkesbury on February 23 and March 14 respectively.

“She races best on the fresh side, and I have been giving her only light work since her last start,” Chevalier said.

“I did have her in a Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at Kembla Grange last Saturday week, but pulled her out when the track was a Heavy 9.

“The Gosford race doesn’t appear to be as strong as her last race at Hawkesbury when she finished well.”

Chevalier kept in touch with Dr Crosson after he purchased Pitavago the first time, and pleasantly received a number of horses from the owner when his Wyong trainer Jeff Englebrecht called time on his career at the end of last season.

One of those horses is The Crimson Idol, and another is Black Alexandra. The lightly-raced Denman three-year-old lines up for her sixth start (but only second for her new trainer) tomorrow.

“Black Alexandra led when fifth first-up at Gosford on March 11, then led again 12 days later at Hawkesbury when she faded to finish ninth,” Chevalier said.

‘We discovered afterwards she was holding her breath, and will race in a tongue tie tomorrow.

“She has worked in the tongue tie and been okay.

“Rival runner She’s A Bad Girl (trained by Wyong’s Damien Lane) also has plenty of pace, so hopefully we can take a sit and get Black Alexandra to relax.”

Chevalier disappointingly had to pull the pin on a Sydney Cup start on April 8 for his stayer Torrens when he strained a muscle on a heavy track a week earlier in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Royal Randwick a week earlier.

The good news for Torrens’ young trainer is that the horse’s Singapore owner has agreed to race him on for another season.

“Torrens is having a break, and we’ll focus on the spring,” Chevalier said. “Seeing as though he is unbeaten at the Randwick 2400m, a race such as The Metropolitan looks a nice target.”

Gosford trainers with runners at home tomorrow are Greg McFarlane (Rockinfeller and Rahni Factor), Adam Duggan (Restrictions and Diamond Diesel), and Angela Davies with first-up Newcastle winner Karedada.

Course manager Steve Scollard has posted an improving “Soft 5” rating, with no rainfall in the past 24 hours.

Gates open at 11am, and the eight-race program begins at 12.30pm, with the Last Post to be played prior to the opener.

There will be an Anzac Re-Enactment Group, and of course on this most important of days, the traditional Two-Up, which will be played in the Beer Garden.

War veterans will receive FREE entry into the course.

*Words John Curtis - Pics Bradley Photos*

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