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  • Provincial Racing NSW


GOULBURN racecourse had probably never seen anything like it!

The owners of two-year-old Tai Victory arrived from Hong Kong on Wednesday to watch their horse have his first start there today for Hawkesbury trainer Blake Ryan – and flew out of Sydney tonight thrilled about having seen him make a winning debut.

“They were pretty excited; they just about raised the roof off the stand,” Ryan said en route home after his youngster had landed the Maiden Handicap (1000m) as a well-backed $4 chance.“

They were pretty excited; they just about raised the roof off the stand,” Ryan said en route home after his youngster had landed the Maiden Handicap (1000m) as a well-backed $4 chance.

Ironically, Tai Victory (Jean Van Overmeire) defeated $2.70 favorite Incarcerated, who was also making his debut for the trainer’s father Gerald, who prepares his team at Rosehill Gardens with Sterling Alexiou, after the pair had fought a stirring battle down the running.

Tai Victory’s success followed leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup’s win with recent addition Decisive Lass ($6) in the F&M Benchmark 58 Handicap (1000m), continuing an excellent season for both.

This was Widdup’s 59th winner, now well in reach of surpassing his benchmark 63 in 2021-22, and Ryan’s 11th in only his third full season of training, having already bettered his eight, also in 2021-22.

Ryan has had plenty to do with Calyx youngster Tai Victory, whom he purchased for $40,000 as a Gold Coast yearling in 2023 for former international rugby league footballer Andrew Dunemann, who played for four clubs in the NRL as well as three in the UK Super League.

He then prepared the youngster for the Inglis Ready2Race sale later in the year, and the now Hong Kong-based Mark Newnham bought him for $90,000 on behalf of Hong Kong owners Messrs Ngan and Cheuk.

“When Mark relocated to Hong Kong, he left the horse with me,” Ryan said.

“I gave him three trials (he was runner-up in all of them), and we tried to win a couple so that he could go to Hong Kong to race there.

“We weren’t able to do that, so I kept him going and thought the Goulburn race was suitable to begin his career.

“Whilst I expected Tai Victory to run well though not confident he could win against a number of older horses, the owners had made up their minds they wanted to see him race.

“The two owners and three friends came out, including the only one who could speak English.

“They have been to the races at Sha Tin and Happy Valley at home and The Everest at Randwick, but never to Goulburn.

“They are flying out tonight very happy with the result.”

Ryan feels Tai Victory will eventually go to Hong Kong to race, perhaps sooner rather than later.

Widdup has recently taken over four-year-old mare Decisive Lass’ preparation, and expected her to race well, and his apprentice Zac Wadick got her home from fancied pair Hold ($3.80 favorite) and Miss Thatcher ($4.60).

Decisive Lass, a $70,000 buy at the 2021 Inglis Premier yearling sale in Melbourne, is an older sister to Widdup’s promising three-year-old Piplup, who contested the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick in April and is currently spelling.

“They look a bit alike, but they’re totally different horses,” Widdup said.

“Decisive Lass can be quirky, but she trialled well (third to stablemate Sneaky Paige over 800m at Hawkesbury on June 3) and I gave her a good chance.”

Widdup has sent Fire Lane (Class 3 Plate, 1100m) and Sneaky Paige (Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic, 1200m) north to run at Saturday’s Ipswich Cup meeting.

“Fire Lane disappointed in the Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes at Randwick last time, but drops right back in grade,” he said.

“Sneaky Paige is a really nice mare who has trialled well. I just want to see her bring her trial and track form to the races.”

Widdup has decided not to chase back to back wins with his talented sprinter Jedibeel, who drew poorly in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

. Fellow provincial trainers Jake Hull (Gosford) and Tina Williams (Wyong) landed the first two races at Friday’s Tamworth meeting.

Hull made it two from three (he had won over 1890m at Newcastle on May 25) with former South Australian five-year-old Six Foot Song ($2.80 favorite), who humped 61.5kg in the Benchmark 68 Handicap (2100m).

Six Foot Song came only days after Hull announced the retirement of his seven-times winner Rhythmic Pulse after he was unplaced at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Williams scored with Obviously Albert ($3 co-favorite) in the Maiden Plate (1600m) at his 14th start.

Ben Looker rode Six Foot Song, and Patrick Scorse partnered Obviously Albert.

Story John Curtis, June 2, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos


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