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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT'S understandable why Jenny Duggan says Torrens is her favorite racehorse.

“I love him,” the Central Coast jockey tells us as she prepares for her second Group 1 assignment on the Hawkesbury stayer in Saturday’s $2m Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick.

Torrens also was Duggan’s maiden Group 1 ride when 11th as a $71 outsider to odds-on favorite Just Fine in The Metropolitan (2400m) at the same track last September.

Torrens will be a roughie again – he was the $101 rank outsider on Tuesday evening with – but that isn’t worrying Duggan in the least.

“He’s my favorite horse,” she said. “He can be a handful out the back on racedays, being a seven-year-old stallion.

“But he becomes a labrador when I hop on his back. We get on really well together.

“Torrens is such a gentleman, and tries his heart out.

“Torrens’ biggest attribute is that he can sustain a long run. I always enjoy riding him, and am very much looking forward to Saturday.”

About 18 months after a shocking fall at Scone in which she suffered multiple injuries and was told that she was lucky to have survived, Duggan celebrated a comeback victory on Torrens at her first city ride back at Warwick Farm on October 4, 2021.

Then a mature age apprentice, she claimed 2kg on the $6.50 chance to reduce his handicap to 60.5kg in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (2110m).

That was Duggan’s first ride on Torrens, and in fact she partnered him at his last five starts that preparation for his previous trainer Lauri Parker.

That association brought her a black type breakthrough in the Listed City Tatts Cup (2400m) at Randwick in October that year at $20, and then the $300,000 The Beauford (2300m) at Newcastle’s The Hunter Saturday metropolitan meeting the following month.

Torrens was subsequently transferred to expatriate Frenchman Chevalier as he began his training career at Hawkesbury, and Duggan has ridden him a further seven times – for placings in the 2023 renewal of The Beauford at Newcastle and Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens.

And of course the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm in January when Duggan’s brilliant front-running ride went so close to paying off (a desperate James McDonald late surge on hotpot Naval College spoiled the party).

Duggan won both the 2011-12 Newcastle apprentices’ premiership and Bill Wade Medal (best strike rate) in a remarkable four months of riding, having switched to the professional ranks after a successful amateur career.

She began riding professionally on March 21, 2012 and rode 10 winners from 42 mounts at Newcastle, including a treble on the last day of the season.

. Marc Chevalier says Torrens has a unique personality.

“He is a lovely kind horse in his box at home, but it’s different when he gets to the races,” he said.

“We don’t put him in a stall, and keep walking him until his race comes around.”

With no further dramas, Chevalier will at least have made it “third time lucky” with Torrens, who has missed the last two Sydney Cups.

The stallion was an absentee in 2022 with a suspensory problem, and then pulled a muscle on a heavy track in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality last year and was unable to back up a week later in the Cup.

Chevalier withdrew Torrens from last Saturday’s Chairman’s fearing a very heavy track (though it raced remarkably well considering there was so much rain), and said his Singapore owner was keen to see him run this year in the “two miler”.

“We will find out how he manages the 3200m, but of course it would have been better if we had been able to give him that lead-up run in the Chairman’s,” he said.

“But he worked well over 1600m on the course proper at Hawkesbury this morning, and is in great order.

“It will be very exciting to have a runner in a Group 1 at The Championships.”

Chevalier also is keen to start his form filly Everyone’s A Star at the meeting in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) against her own sex.

“Whilst she has won her last two on the Kensington track midweek, this is a different proposition,” he said.

“However, she is going well and it will be a good lead-up to a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill a fortnight later.”

. Two wins in three days! Kembla Grange trainer Ross McConville achieved that with Bully For You, who backed up from a Newcastle victory last Saturday to score again, this time on his home track today.

Not even a 2kg penalty to 59.5kg for his Newcastle win could stop him coming out on top again, in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m) as a $3.60 favorite, with Robbie Downey aboard.

Fellow Kembla Grange trainer Kerry Parker made it two for the locals when the promising Flying Bandit (Jay Ford) made it two wins from only three starts in the Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1500m), handling the “Heavy 10” track with aplomb.

Story John Curtis, April 9, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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