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  • Provincial Racing NSW


RICO Suave was a one-hit wonder rap song when released in the US in the early 1990s.

But trainer Steve O’Halloran is hoping his horse by the same name will prove himself more than a one-hit wonder when he lines up at Kembla Grange tomorrow seeking to make it two wins on the trot.

The Hawkesbury-based trainer has booked Chad Lever for last start Gosford winner Rico Suave in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (2000m), and has settled on that race instead of a similar 1800m event on his home track on Tuesday.

“We’re definitely going to Kembla; I didn’t accept with him for Hawkesbury’s first meeting of the season,” O’Halloran said this morning.

A gelded son of Fastnet Rock, Rico Suave broke through in a 1900m Maiden Plate at Gosford a fortnight ago, and his trainer believes he will manage the additional 100m.

“Provided Rico Suave can get a suck run as he did at Gosford when he travelled easily, I can’t see why he won’t run the 2000m out,” O’Halloran said.

“He was the last horse off the bit at Gosford, and showed a nice turn of foot.

“Obviously this is a stronger race with four last-start winners (including Rico Suave) engaged, so we’ll find out about him getting the extra distance.”

O’Halloran and his wife Stephanie took a calculated gamble when they paid $15,000 to secure Rico Suave in an online sale last November.

He had raced only once, and beat one horse home in a 1250m Maiden Plate at Newcastle in late October.

Rico Suave initially brought $150,000 when sold as a yearling in Melbourne in early 2021, and then fetched $340,000 when offered as an unraced early two-year-old at the Inglis Ready2Race sale in Sydney later that year.

“He might have been rushed a bit to go to the Ready2Race sale,” O’Halloran said.

“Being a well-bred young horse out of a High Chaparral mare (Annata Lady, who won a 1600m Ararat Maiden from eight starts), I felt if we gave him more time to settle into a new environment, there could be improvement in him.”

O’Halloran didn’t race the now four-year-old until April when he started him without blinkers, and refrained from putting them back on until mid-June.

Rico Suave had been placed in five consecutive races (the last four at the provincials) before he shed his maiden status at Gosford on July 22.

That victory boosted his earnings for the O’Hallorans to $46,875 (including a BOBS bonus) from seven starts.

O’Halloran has just completed his best season since relocating to Hawkesbury a couple of years ago, preparing seven winners.

“It was difficult starting afresh, and you can only do the best you can with the limited stock you have,” he said.

“But I was very happy with our results last season. My goal is to place the horses in the right races to give them every chance to earn prizemoney for their owners.”

O’Halloran also has his recent first-up Hawkesbury winner Boom Song nominated for Warwick Farm on Wednesday, and will run him either there in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1000m), or at Newcastle the following day.

The other last-start winners opposing Rico Suave at Kembla Grange are Wyong trainer Kim Waugh’s Sir Godric, and city pair Sidereal (Richard and Will Freedman) and Vincenzo (Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou).

Sir Godric and Vincenzo are coming off Kembla Grange victories, whilst Sidereal won at Nowra.

. The rail for tomorrow’s eight-race program, which begins with Rico Suave’s race at 12.25pm, is out varying distances; 9m from the 1100m to the winning post, and 6m for the remainder.

Racecourse manager Dave Anderson has posted a “Good 4” rating.

*Words John Curtis, August 4, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*


Race 1: 5 Verbek narrowly beaten here 2 starts back

4 Rico Suave ultra consistent galloper

7 Overice worth overlooking last start

Race 2: 1 Capital Heart looks very promising

6 Lady Jezam nice run when resuming

4 Rapido has trialled ok

Race 3: 1 Candlelit will benefit from first-up effort

6 Pushy appears ready on debut

4 Hanau can improve on only start

Race 4: 8 Skoozi a victory here would not surprise

1 Champ De Mars beaten fav. at last 2 starts

2 Full Revolution tried hard last start

Race 5: 6 Mountain Guest black type placegetter resuming

10 Kenology looks the likely leader

1 Allebasi extra distance here will suit

Race 6: 6 Tango Fame nearing peak fitness

3 Oakfield Prince big chance again

4 Scopics narrowly beaten at Bathurst

Race 7: 1 Zarni could be hard to run down

2 Nanshe solid win last start

4 Hinchinjive winner at only run on this track

Race 8: 3 Oakfield Mahogany ideally suited by good draw

7 Secret Spy could control the pace in front

4 C’mon Mate never far away

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