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  • Provincial Racing NSW


THE $2m Inglis Millennium is on the radar for yesterday’s Newcastle debut winner Winning Proposal.

But connections will have an anxious wait to learn whether the $21,000 she earned from her victory against older horses will be sufficient to secure her a start in Saturday week’s 1100m Royal Randwick feature for eligible Inglis two-year-old graduates.

Additionally, Wyong trainer Kristen Buchanan wants to ensure the filly continues to do well before committing her to a Millennium assignment.

Winning Proposal ($5.50) was one of only two juveniles who contested the Midway Maiden Plate (900m), and she was good enough to beat principally senior rivals.

Ridden by Wyong apprentice Anna Roper, Winning Proposal defeated Sir Tom ($3.20), who bled from both nostrils, and Sharpen The Knives ($21).

A $50,000 purchase at last year’s Inglis Premier yearling sale in Melbourne for Vardy Thoroughbreds, the daughter of Shalaa trialled twice on the Beaumont track and at Gosford earlier this month in preparation for the start of her racing career.

“Vardy Thoroughbreds was one of the first syndicators I became involved with, and Steve (Vardy) is a very good supporter of my stable,” Buchanan said today.

“They are excellent selectors of young horses, and I am delighted to be able to train for them.

“Obviously it would be nice to be able to run Winning Proposal in the Inglis Millennium being worth such big money, but firstly we want to be sure she takes no harm from yesterday’s race and keeps training on to our satisfaction.

“And of course it also depends on whether she will have enough prizemoney to make the field when it is declared on Tuesday week.”

Buchanan almost made it a weekend double when Kervette ($11) was nosed out by the favorite Koby Girl ($2.50) in the F&M Maiden Plate (1200m) on her home track today, and not even a protest alleging interference over the closing stages could reverse the result.

However, five provincial trainers enjoyed success at the annual meeting held held around the Australia Day holiday.

Buchanan’s fellow Wyong trainer Damien Lane scored with Pluckten ($6.50) at only his third start and considers he can go on with the job, whilst his talented apprentice Anna Roper completed a double, having won the opener for Gosford’s Kylie Gavenlock on Tina’s Rock ($10), who races in the Pierro colours of the Kolivos family.

A trio of Kembla Grange trainers also joined in. Ben Smith made it two in a row with Outakandy ($1.45 favorite) and Ross McConville did the same with recent Newcastle winner South Of India ($7). Tyrone Coyle landed the closer with $16 chance Prince Aurelius, ridden by Kembla apprentice Olivia Chambers.

. Mike Van Gestel could have had two runners in the same race at Canberra yesterday, but stuck to his original decision to run one – and it paid off.

The vastly experienced Hawkesbury trainer brought off a debut victory with three-year-old filly Dark Glitter ($7), who beat five rivals in the Maiden Plate (1000m).

“There weren’t a lot of entries for the race in the first place, and I had a phone call from stewards five minutes before the 9am deadline on Thursday morning to ask if I also wanted to run Sizzling Tale as there were only six acceptors,” Van Gestel explained today.

“I thought about it, but decided to stay with Dark Glitter (Sizzling Tale has drawn the rails in a 1000m Maiden at Goulburn on Tuesday).”

Ridden by Quayde Krogh (the first of his treble at the meeting), Dark Glitter opened her career on the best possible note, defeating another $7 chance Kitty Jinks and $2.70 favorite Taytay Bay.

The daughter of Spieth is a half-sister to Van Gestel’s tough five-year-old No Statement, who has won 11 races and been placed 14 times from 50 starts.

Van Gestel and his wife Louisa bred Dark Glitter (by Spieth) from the mare Berning Affair, which they subsequently sold to Gerry Harvey, who sent her to New Zealand last year.

The couple had intended to buy No Statement’s older half-sister Sakura Blossom (by Golden Slipper winner Vancouver at an Inglis 2018 broodmare and weanling sale.

However, they missed out on the then weanling, who was sold to New Zealand interests for $50,000, and instead bought Berning Affair, a Bernardini mare who had been unplaced at two Victorian starts, for $12,000.

Berning Affair was in foal to Press Statement- and No Statement was the result.

“Technically we bred No Statement although we didn’t own the mare when she went to Press Statement,” Van Gestel said.

“After No Statement was born, we sent Berning Affair to Winning Rupert, but that didn’t work out and so she then went to Spieth, and along came this filly.

“Dark Glitter is a bit taller and leggier than No Statement, and we didn’t push her as a two-year-old.

“She still has some learning to do.

“Dark Glitter had never been hit the whip in her two trials at Hawkesbury last month, and got a bit scared when it was used on her yesterday.

“She ran away from the other horses in the straight, but was still good enough to win. It was a very pleasing result.”

Dark Glitter was Van Gestel’s sixth winner of the season, and the 83rd from the Hawkesbury training base.

His last two winners have been at Canberra, having also scored there on January 12 with Titan Star in a Benchmark 55 Handicap (1000m).

Story John Curtis, January 28, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos 


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