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  • Provincial Racing NSW


HAWKESBURY’S triple Group 1 winning trainer Edward Cummings is having a “throw at the stumps” with the inexperienced Arts in tomorrow’s Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic (1600m).

He has withdrawn the daughter of 2015 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner Xtravagant from the easier Benchmark 64 Handicap over the same distance to contest the Group 3 feature for three-year-old fillies.

“The owners were keen to have a crack at the Kembla Grange Classic with Arts,” Cummings said this afternoon.

“It’s a big ask of course jumping from a Maiden on debut to a Group 3 at set weights plus penalties.

“I’ve been very happy with Arts since she won her first start, and I’ll be over the moon if she can manage a placing tomorrow.

“It’s the right time to try her at the ‘mile’, and there’s no doubt she will take further improvement from tomorrow’s race.”

Brett Prebble has been given Racing NSW stewards’ permission to ride Arts 0.5kg over at 54.5kg in the Classic.

As trainers do with well-bred three-year-old fillies showing staying potential, Cummings has nominated Arts for the $1m Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 8 (Day 2 of The Championships).

Cummings is one of only two provincial trainers with a representative in the Group 3 event.

Kembla Grange-based Ben Smith runs Whisky Wisdom (apprentice Zac Lloyd), whilst leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has announced both his fillies will bypass the Classic.

Lees has already withdrawn Wolverine, and decided to chase the $300,000 Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday with stablemate Razeta, who will be ridden by Blake Shinn.

Arts made an impressive start to her racing career when she landed a Maiden Plate (1400m) at Kembla Grange on February 23.

There was plenty of merit in her performance as she began awkwardly and raced wide and without cover for most of the race.

Bookmakers are giving the provincial pair little chance of taking the Classic, with Whisky Wisdom at $34 and Arts at $41.

Call Di, a daughter of unbeaten 14-start English champion Frankel and Lees’ former multiple Group 1 winner Samantha Miss, and Pavitra are sharing favoritism with at $3.50.

Wyong trainers Kim Waugh and Tracey Bartley took the honors in today’s third qualifier of the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship (1400m) at Newcastle, supplying the first two placegetters in True Crime ($9.50) and Sebrenco ($5.50) respectively.

Both horses automatically secured starts in the $500,000 Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 8.

Lees finished third and fourth with Geo ($5.50) and Acquitted ($3.50 favorite), and is yet to qualify a horse for the Final, which he has won four times in the past; the last two with Cristal Breeze (2021) and Kinloch last year.

His ruling $6 Final favorite Loch Eagle is likely to begin his Provincial-Midway Championship campaign in next Thursday’s 1200m Qualifier at Gosford.

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