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  • Provincial Racing NSW


JOE Ible had high hopes for Cuban Granchico after his first two wins on his home track at the end of the 2021-22 racing season.

But it has taken him until today to make his mark in town.

Sydney’s reigning apprentice champion Zac Lloyd got Cuban Granchico ($5) home in the nick of time from $2.90 favoriteSweysive, who had made all the running in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1550m) on the Kensington track.

“The owners have been very patient,” said Kembla Grange trainer Joe Ible en route home after collecting the opening race.

“We thought he was going to work his way through the classes when he won both his Maiden and a Benchmark 64 Handicap in July, 2022 (both were on rain-affected ground).

“But being a big horse, he has had a lot of little issues.

“It was very satisfying to see him finally break through in town.”

Ible had a crack at last year’s Provincial-Midway Championships last year with Cuban Granchico – but it didn’t end well.

The now six-year-old was well in the market as a $6.50 third favorite in the Hawkesbury Qualifier (1400m) in March, but faded to beat only one home after leading.

“He pulled up sore behind,” Ible explained.

“Unfortunately, he has now had more than the maximum number of starts to be eligible to run in this year’s series.”

Ible brought Cuban Granchico with him when he relocated from Canberra to Kembla Grange in mid-winter 2021, and has now won four races with the gelded son of Group 1 Sydney winner Casino Prince and six-times South Australian winner Cuban Girl.

He trialled twice for leading Kembla Grange trainers Rob and Luke Price before joining Ible’s team, and then found his way back there when his trainer shifted from the nation’s capital.

Cuban Granchico was Ible’s 10th winner of the season, and his goal is to better last season’s benchmark of 20 successes.

“We’ve had a quiet period, but our team is up and running again and ready to fire,” he said.

. Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup is not one to get carried away with his horses.

So when he says today’s Kensington winner Confess Our Dreams is “pretty exciting”, it’s quite a statement.

Having her first city start and first from a break, Confess Our Dreams ($7.50) turned in a brilliant performance in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1000m) to maintain her unbeaten record.

The Shalaa three-year-old won her first two starts over 900m at Newcastle last September and October before Widdup gave her a break.

Confess Our Dreams left her rivals with no excuses in making it three from three. She drew the outside, had to do plenty of work and still scored with authority.

“It’s a hard time of the year to keep finding suitable races as the autumn carnival is nearly upon us,” Widdup said.

“But I will try to find another good option for her.

“She did a pretty good job going from a Saturday Class 1 Handicap at the provincials to a Benchmark 72 in town, and against some decent opposition.”

Confess Our Dreams was bred by her Melbourne owner Akram Younan, who unfortunately lost the filly’s dam The Beautiful Wife (a daughter of former Newcastle sprint sensation Choisir), who died in May last year.

Jockey Tommy Berry’s keen eye earned him the ride on the filly for her city debut.

Berry rode a rival in Confess Our Dreams’ winning 800m Open trial at Hawkesbury on February 1, and was sufficiently impressed to chase the mount.

The filly’s victory was Widdup’s third in the past five days – and 29th of the season.

Story John Curtis, February 14, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos




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