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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KEMBLA Grange champ Think It Over has faced challenges on and off the track during his outstanding career – and beaten them.

Now he faces another on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens as he warms up for a second tilt at the $5m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 13 on Day 2 of The Championships.

The highly-regarded former English mare Via Sistina, now trained by Chis Waller, makes her Aussie debut against Think It Over in the $1m Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).

The six-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock has won five of her 13 starts, including the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes (2011m) at The Curragh in Ireland last July.

But Via Sistina’s presence isn’t concerning the Kembla ace’s trainer Kerry Parker, who is his usual unflappable self.

“I don’t know much about Via Sistina other than she has good form overseas,” he said.

“All I can do is worry about my horse, and he is in great order.

“Nash (Rawiller) came down to Kembla Grange last Friday and gave him a nice gallop in between races at the Classic meeting.

“He was happy with the horse, and so am I.”

Bookmakers are expecting a good battle between Think It Over and his new challenger going on the early market prior to the field being declared on Wednesday morning.

Think It Over is a $2.50 favorite with, and Via Sistina is not far behind at $2.80.

Parker’s resilient eight-year-old gelding burst back into the Group 1 spotlight at his last start, upsetting the favorite Fangirl (who is now out of the autumn carnival because of injury) in the Verry Elleegant Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 2.

Last year’s Rosehill Guineas winner Lindermann, who ran third in that race and returned to the winning list with a hollow Rosehill victory last Saturday, is also a Ranvet nomination.

Parker has carefully planned Think It Over’s preparation toward his autumn goal – the Queen Elizabeth.

He won the Group 1 feature two years ago at $41 when Rawiller veered wide on the track in the straight on a heavy surface, and came up trumps, defeating Zaaki and Mount Popa.

A subsequent serious tendon injury meant Think It Over did not race again for 16 months, and it is a tremendous tribute to Parker and his staff and all concerned with the gelding’s rehab that he made it back to the track, let alone still make his mark at racing’s elite level.

Whilst Saturday’s Ranvet is clearly Parker’s focus, he also has two horses nominated for Saturday’s Provincial-Midway Championships Qualifier (1400m) at home.

They are Rapid Outlaw and Well Timed (the latter races in the Think It Over colours).

“At this stage I’m not sure we will get a run with either horse as there are plenty of entries (28 and 16 can run),” Parker said.

“I will accept with Rapid Outlaw for both Kembla and a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday, and see how both fields shape up.

“Well Timed was an emergency for a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m) at Wyong tomorrow and now that he has got a run, we will most likely go there.

“He keeps improving, having won both his starts since resuming.”

Story John Curtis, March 19, 2024

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