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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KEMBLA Grange trainer Paul Murray had “inside knowledge” of a Bull Point filly he was able to secure for only $6000 as a yearling two years ago.

Racing as Winning Point, the three-year-old backs up after a Newcastle victory last week, and at her home track on Saturday, is chasing her third career success in the Cudgeree Bay Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (2000m).

There is a real South Coast connection to Winning Point, which influenced Murray not to miss out on her when she was offered at the 2021 Inglis HTBA sale.

The filly’s granddam is Kenbelle, whom the late great Berry horseman Kevin Robinson won the 1996 Group 1 ATC (then AJC) Oaks with at Royal Randwick, and also the Group 2 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens a year later.

Kenbelle also produced the five-times Group 1 winner Boban (by Bernardin).

“I was well aware of Winning Point’s pedigree on the dam’s side, and that’s why I bought her,” Murray said today.

“She has big lungs, and I always felt she could develop into a nice middle-distance performer, and she is doing that.

“We didn’t race her as a two-year-old to give her every chance to mature.”

Connections had planned to have a crack at the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm earlier this month – won by Newcastle filly Amokura, who had also previously won only twice - but it didn’t pan out.

“We missed out on a couple of subsequent races, and she didn’t have enough prizemoney to warrant going north,” Murray said.

Such is Winning Point’s versatility that she has gone from winning a 1200m Maiden first-up at home in early April on a heavy track to 2300m – as she did in hollow fashion at Newcastle last Saturday, trouncing her five rivals in a Class 1/Maiden Plate as an odds-on favourite.

“She didn’t have an overly strong run and pulled up well, so I don’t have a problem about backing her up, even though she has to come back 300m,” Murray said.

“But we have our eye on a heat of the Stayers Series at Wagga over 2500m on July 24, so another start will have her ready for that.

“Michael Beattie (Clarence River Jockey Club CEO) rang me after Winning Point won at Newcastle about going to Grafton for a Benchmark 58 Handicap over 3120m at the end of the July carnival, but she’s not quite ready yet for that distance.”

Jean Van Overmeire partnered Winning Point in her Newcastle romp and again has the mount, along with two of Murray’s other three Kembla runners on Saturday.

He also rides Zarni in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m), and Globe Runner in the Provincial 3YO & Up Maiden Handicap (1200m). Grant Buckley is aboard Murray’s fourth representative Crystal Waters in the Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1400m).

A regular visitor to Grafton’s annual carnival, Murray is considering a trip there for Zarni if she performs well at the weekend.

The lightly-raced Nicconi filly wasn’t beaten far when a first-up fourth to Selfless Act in a similar race over 1200m at home on June 17.

“I didn’t want her to lead that day, but she was left in front and beaten only a half-length,” Murray said.

“She has taken improvement from that run and hopefully we can ride her with some cover on Saturday.

“Zarni won her maiden over 1400m here in March and, depending on her performance, she might go to Grafton for the Guineas (1600m) on Ramornie day (July 12) against her own age.”

Murray is hoping for a scratching to give sole emergency Globe Runner a start, and gives the gelding a good each-way chance if he makes the field.

Crystal Waters won twice at Kembla Grange in April (both over 1500m on rain-affected ground), and two of her three recent defeats have been in stronger grade in Sydney.

This is the third last meeting of the season, and racecourse manager Dave Anderson has posted a “Good 4” rating. The rail is in the TRUE position for the eight-race program, which begins at 11.55am.

*Words John Curtis, June 29, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos - Selections Michael Craig*

Race 1 - 9 Invade And Conquer no luck at only start;

8 - High King worked home well in recent trial;

7 - Energized narrowly beaten here last start;

Race 2 - 5 Sunlord will derive benefit from debut run;

4 - Khumbila expect to be finishing strongly;

2 - Mad Deel good chance again;

Race 3 - 9 Kadall extra distance should suit;

7 Blagny should have finished closer last start;

2 Bullbarrow better for 2 recent trials;

Race 4 - 3 Miss Faberge returned to best form at R’hill;

2 Emancipist stormed home at Goulburn;

6 Zarni will be better for one run back;

Race 5 - 6 Ausbred Mimosa almost prevailed on debut;

4 Liangelo ran a great race at first start;

11 Densaur could be the surprise packet;

Race 6 - 6 Oakfield Mahogany getting close to peak form;

9 Mad Darcey great chance fresh;

10 Blitzar bigger track suits here;

Race 7 - 3 Charlemagne hard to fault current form;

1 Ruban Bleu winner at only previous start here;

4 Tinka’s Lad led and won here last start;

Race 8 - 3 Winning Point too much dash for the rest at Newcastle;

7 Overice will be handy throughout;

2 Vandelay Style should appreciate this trip;

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