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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT’S all systems go with Kembla Grange champ Think It Over, who is ready to begin a new campaign at Royal Randwick in mid-February.

But not so with stablemate Hope In Your Heart, who has had a setback and as a result her return to racing has been delayed.

Trainer Kerry Parker is thrilled with Think It Over’s progress as he readies him for a resumption in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 17.

The now eight-year-old won the weight-for-age Apollo first-up in 2022 en route to his biggest success when a daring Nash Rawiller ride landed a stunning $41 upset in the $4m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at that venue on a “Heavy 10” track.

Parker is again aiming the earner of just oved $7.8m $8m at this year’s $5m Queen Elizabeth to be run on April 13 (Day 2 of The Championships).

Under Parker’s skilful guidance, the gelding made a remarkable recovery from a serious tendon injury threatened to end his racing career, by winning the $1m 7 Stakes (1600m) from Zaaki and Fangirl at Randwick on September 16 last year.

He had intended to take Think It Over south for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley, but pulled up stumps after finishing sixth to Fangirl in the inaugural $5m King Charles III Stakes (1600m) at Randwick a fortnight beforehand.

“I brought Think It Over into work after the All Aged Stakes at Randwick in April last year, and gave him a really good grounding to get him back to the races,” Parker said.

“He raced a bit flat in the King Charles, and it was time to stop. The break has done him the world of good.

“Think It Over still has that zest for racing as he showed in his two recent trials.

“He began like an Oakleigh Plater at his first 900m trial at Warwick Farm on January 16, and Nash had to pull him back.

“I was really happy with his second trial yesterday when he ran third to Pericles and Griff over 1000m.

“He had a lovely gallop, and Nash was happy with him also.

“That trial will bring him on further, and he now has another two and a half weeks to the Apollo.”

Whilst Parker’s news with Think It Over was encouraging, unfortunately that wasn’t the case with his quality mare Hope In Your Heart, who was scheduled to also contest a separate 900m Group trial on the Warwick Farm course proper yesterday.

“I couldn’t run her because she had a setback,” he explained.

“She can be a hot mare, and kicked out at the trials and sustained a cut to her hind leg.

“It needed stitches, and will probably take a couple of weeks to heal properly.

“Until we see how she is, I won’t make any plans.

“It’s disappointing of course, but there’s no hurry. There’s always the Brisbane winter carnival after the Sydney autumn.”

Parker had hoped to give Hope In Your Heart the chance to clinch a Group 1 victory in the $1m Coolmore Classic (1500m) against her own sex at Rosehill Gardens on March 16.

The five-year-old daughter of Dundeel has been placed three times at Group 2 level and won the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) at Newcastle in 2022. She also ran second to Atishu in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

Story John Curtis, January 31, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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