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  • Provincial Racing NSW


AUSTRALIA’S 22nd Prime Minister, the late Malcolm Fraser, some 50-odd years ago famously said “life wasn’t meant to be easy”.

One of provincial racing’s talented young trainers Joe Ible can surely attest to that statement!

Confident in his own ability and having made the decision to pull up stumps at Canberra in mid-winter 2021 to position himself closer to the “big smoke” by setting up shop at Kembla Grange, the relocation could not have come at a worse time – through no fault of his own.

“Who could forget it?,” Ible said. “It was the first week of a COVID lockdown, so it was pretty difficult.

“In fact, the first 12 months after moving were tough adjusting to a new situation, but we have turned the corner and things are definitely on the up.”

As Ible prepares to raise his bat for a century of career winners – Flower Press was his 95th at Hawkesbury last Tuesday, and Patrika Mist his 96th at Gosford last Saturday – he is looking confidently to the future, and without any air of arrogance.

“I keep between 20 to 25 horses in work at Kembla Grange, and definitely feel I can double that number in the next 12 months,” he said.

“We’ve put plans in place to do that.

“I wanted to move closer to Sydney because of the increasing prizemoney RacingNSW continues to make available, and to both increase the quality of horses in my care and attract new clients.”

Ible has indeed done the hard yards to succeed in his chosen profession.

Adelaide-born, he successfully completed an equine science course and spent valuable time learning the ropes from such notable trainers as Adelaide’s Phillip Stokes (now also based in Victoria), the late Bede Murray and racing’s first lady Gai Waterhouse.

Moruya on the NSW South Coast was where he cut his teeth as a trainer from late 2012 before transferring to Canberra in 2015.

His first city winner arrived at Rosehill Gardens in September 2018 when Sebring mare Seeblume (Hugh Bowman) won a Class 2 TAB Highway (1500m) at $8.50.

Whilst still at Canberra, Ible also made his mark in town by landing a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1900m) with Zoffany’s Lad (Sam Clipperton) at $13 – and at his first start for him.

The move to Kembla Grange spawned his next city victory – and it was for racing’s mammoth owner Gerry Harvey.

Dane Shadow mare Sepulchre (Rachel King) got through the heavy ground to take a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (2000m) at $26 in November 2021.

Understandably, Ible has a soft spot for Rosehill, where all his three city triumphs to date have been achieved.

But he will attempt to break new ground at headquarters at Royal Randwick on Saturday when Flower Press goes to town.

She will contest a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m), restricted to eligible metropolitan and provincial trainers.

Ible purchased the four-year-old daughter of Press Statement online through Inglis Digital last August for $20,000.

“She was familiar to me as she was trained at Kembla by the late Gwenda Markwell,” Ible said.

“Gwenda had won a 1200m Maiden with her here in January last year at only her third start, and her owners decided to move her on after another seven runs.

“Flower Press has proven a good buy. Her Hawkesbury win last Tuesday was her third from only five starts for us, and she has already earned more than $50,000 in prizemoney.

“She deserves another crack at a Midway in town.”

. HOOFNOTE: Ible is keen to have a representative when the 2023 Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship kicks off at his home track on Thursday.

He has nominated The Carpet Bagger for the opening $150,000 Qualifier to be run over 1400m.

“We have won two races with The Carpet Bagger since getting him last year, but I’m not sure his current benchmark rating (55) will be enough to get him into the field, depending on the number of acceptances,” Ible said.

“I have also nominated him for a 1300m Benchmark 64 Handicap on Thursday in case he misses out on a start in the main race, so that we can try to lift up his benchmark rating up to get into another of the later Qualifiers.”

Twenty-three horses have been entered for Thursday’s opening Qualifier, with 16 permitted to start.

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