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  • Provincial Racing NSW


GOSFORD trainer Adam Duggan has decided on a dual attack on his home track’s $150,000 Provincial Midway Championships Qualifier tomorrow.

Duggan this morning confirmed dual venue acceptor Border Control would bypass a Rosehill Gardens engagement to join stablemate Diamond Diesel.

“I really wanted to run Border Control in the Midway Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill but he drew awkwardly,” he said.

When smart Newcastle mare Overriding was withdrawn from the Gosford race because of a wide draw, Duggan moved quickly to secure Jennings for Border Control.

He had moved even quicker to book Mitchell Bell for Diamond Diesel, who is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Canterbury and Gosford in December.

“Mitchell did me a favour by riding Diamond Diesel in a 900m barrier trial at Newcastle on November 30, when the gelding ran second to Hellavadancer,” Duggan said.

“I mentioned to him that I was getting Diamond Diesel ready for a first-up attempt at Canterbury a fortnight later, and said after the trial that the horse weas in really good order.

“Realising that neither of my two main jockeys Dylan Gibbons and Josh Parr would be available for the Gosford Qualifier because of Saturday commitments in town, I rang Mitchell’s manager a month ago to get him to ride Diamond Diesel in a Wyong trial and tomorrow’s race.”

Duggan gave Diamond Diesel two and a half weeks’ away from the stable after winning the Malcolm Cusick Stakes (1200m) at Gosford on December 28.

“As that was his fifth success, I couldn’t run him again otherwise another win would have made him ineligible for the Provincial Midway Championships,” he said.

“Mitchell won the 845m trial on Diamond Diesel at Wyong on March 4, and being the better credentialled of my two runners, he does look the best chance.

“Both horses have drawn well.”

Importantly, the Duggan pair have excellent form on their home track.

Diamond Diesel has raced four times at Gosford for two wins and two placings, and Border Control’s three starts there have yielded two wins and a second.

Duggan is adamant the addition of a tongue tie to Diamond Diesel’s gear has been instrumental in his two wins late last year.

“Dylan (Gibbons) confirmed he was getting his tongue over the bit when he ran fourth on him in a Midway Handicap at Rosehill last July after winning a similar race on him at Randwick a fortnight earlier,” he explained.

“I put the bit on him in his work and trials when he resumed, and he has been very comfortable in it and definitely has raced better.”

Duggan has done a splendid job with seven-year-old both Diamond Diesel ($7 with and six-year-old Border Control ($34), capturing nine races with the pair.

He trains the ex-Hong Kong geldings for TCR Racing (Derek Tam and Peter Coffey).

The stablemates will be Duggan’s first runners in the annual series since Sir Elton ran eighth to Asharani in a 2020 Gosford heat which was transferred to Newcastle.

He had high hopes for the now retired Sir Elton, who won his first three starts in the winter of 2019 (including a Royal Randwick victory under Hugh Bowman as a dominant favorite), but a few issues prevented him from continuing to display that promising form.

Duggan will still have a Midway representative in another TCR horse Peak (Dylan Gibbons), but will stay at home as he also saddles first starter Divine Bene (Bell) in the second local race, the Super Maiden Plate (1000m).

The first two placegetters in the Gosford Qualifier will join Territory Express, Willaidow, Tavi Time, Nosey Parker, Short Shorts and Convincebility in the $1m Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 13.

PMC favorite and Newcastle Qualifier winner Tavi Time goes to town tomorrow and is an odds-on favorite for a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill, whilst Kembla Grange Qualifier victor Territory Express is also at Rosehill and trying to win a ticket into the Group 1 Doncaster Mile a week earlier by capturing the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m).

Wyong trainer Kim Waugh’s well-performed mare Shadows Of Love (Keagan Latham), who has won three of her last four starts (including a first-up Rosehill success on February 24), is the $3.70 pre-post favorite for the Gosford Qualifier.

Duggan’s fellow Gosford trainer Angela Davies’ promising sprinter Karedada (Andrew Gibbons) and Sydneysider Terra Mater are $5.50 joint second favorites.

. The rail is in the TRUE position for the eight-race card, and course manager Steve Scollard this morning posted a “Soft 5” rating. Racing begins at 1.25pm.

Story John Curtis, March 15, 2024 - Bradley Photos

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