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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT’S only the beginning!

Newcastle trainer Sam Kavanagh will launch ruling second favorite Kayobi’s Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship bid in Thursday’s fourth Qualifier (1200m) at Gosford as he plots a similar 2023 path with the talented young sprinter to that used so successfully last year by fellow Newcastle trainer Kris Lees.

As the Gosford Qualifier is being run midweek and thus Sydney jockeys are available, Kavanagh has booked Brenton Avdulla for the mount.

He is taking the lightly-raced Maurice four-year-old to the Central Coast track for the $150,000 event for a twofold reason.

Not only is he attempting to qualify Kayobi for the $500,000 Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 8 (Day 2 of The Championships) by finishing first or second on Thursday, but he also has the $500,000 The Coast (1600m) for three and four-year-olds to be run at that track on May 6 in mind.

“Though he is yet to race past 1400m, I reckon he’s a miler’,” Kavanagh said of his gelding today.

“Starting him at Gosford on Thursday will give him experience on the track when he goes back there for The Coast.”

Kavanagh purchased Kayobi online through Inglis Digital last May after he had finished second to Economics (who a few months later won the Listed Heritage Stakes, 1100m at Rosehill Gardens) in a Maiden (1000m) at the Scone Cup carnival.

That was only his second start, as he had also finished second in a 1280m Maiden Plate at Muswellbrook in September, 2021 when on debut early in his three-year-old season.

“We bought him online from Arrowfield Stud and syndicated him online,” Kavanagh said.

“Kayobi has won all three starts for us, and we were aiming him at the $500,000 Four Pillars Midway (1500m) at Rosehill at the end of October last year after being successful in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m) at Kembla Grange a couple of weeks earlier.

“Unfortunately, he got a virus and couldn’t run, so we stopped with him and looked ahead to this year, with the Provincial-Midway Championship being the first target.

“Our aim following that series is to go to The Coast and then the Scone Cup (1600m) the following Friday.

“Victory at Scone would give him eligibility for the $2m The Big Dance (1600m) at Royal Randwick in November.

“Kris Lees finished fourth in last year’s Provincial-Midway Final with Rustic Steel before winning all three of The Coast, Scone Cup and The Big Dance.”

Kavanagh was understandably pleased with Kayobi’s easy 1000m Open barrier trial win from seven rivals on the Beaumont track last Wednesday on a heavy track.

That was his second trial this campaign, and his trainer says he is now ready to return to the races.

“Kayobi is a talented young horse, and 1200m looks the right starting point for him,” he said.

“Hopefully he will qualify on Thursday, and then go to the Final. The 1400m won’t be a problem as he won over that distance with 60kg at Scone from a wide barrier last June.”

As a precaution against a bad barrier draw or adverse track conditions, Kayobi is also nominated for 1400m Qualifier at Kembla on Saturday.

Four-times Final winner Kris Lees, yet to qualify a representative this year, has seven of the 31 entries for the Gosford race.

Lees’ nominations include $6 Final favorite Loch Eagle, who is a point ahead of Kayobi, and last year’s Final winner Kinloch, who is resuming.

The Gosford Qualifier is for both eligible Provincial and Midway trainers. Sixteen horses can start, with provision for four emergencies if there are sufficient acceptances today.

*John Curtis

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