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  • Provincial Racing NSW


HAWKESBURY trainer Steve O’Halloran had good news on two fronts on Thursday.

Not only did he clinch an overdue winner at Wyong, but found his smart two-year-old filly Nymphadora was back in her stable after a spell when he returned home.

O’Halloran was understandably delighted to be back in the winning list with Rico Suave ($4.20), who defeated Irish import and $2.30 favorite Lygon Street, who was making his Australian debut, in the Class 1/Maiden Plate (2000m) at Wyong.

“It’s been a bit barren,” O’Halloran said this evening, referring to the fact his previous winner was Jaex at the same track on March 14, and there had been six placings in the ensuing period.

There was no coincidence, however, that Rico Suave’s rider Mitchell Bell also was aboard Jaex three months ago.

“Mitchell is a very good jockey, and always does what you ask him,” O’Halloran said.

“He gave Rico Suave a great ride today.”

O’Halloran purchased the now Fastnet Rock four-year-old for $15,000 online (he had fetched $340,000 at the 2021 Inglis Ready2Race sale as an unraced two-year-old) in November, 2022.

Rico Suave had raced only once when 10th in a 1250m Newcastle Maiden the previous month.

The winner Altivo also won his next three starts, including victories at Sandown and Flemington.

After five consecutive placings, O’Halloran won a 1900m Maiden with Rico Suave at a Gosford Saturday meeting on July 22 last year.

“He failed at 2000m at Kembla Grange at his next run, but had come to the end of his preparation,” O’Halloran said.

“Rico Suave raced wide but kept coming when third over 1600m at Hawkesbury at his last start, and I felt he might handle the 2000m this time.

“Obviously I knew Kris Lees’ import Lygon Street would be hard to beat, but he hadn’t raced since last August and was confident my horse had a fitness edge.”

Yes Yes Yes filly Nymphadora was a strong-finishing third at $101 in the $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Royal Randwick last December, and subsequently ran sixth in the $2m Inglis Millennium (1100m) there in February.

“She has had a nice break, and strengthened,” O’Halloran said.

He has 20 horses in work at Hawkesbury, and says a number of yearlings being educated have been coming in out of the stable.

“I’ve got a couple of young horses trialling at Warwick Farm on Monday, and will have a few runners at our home track meeting on Tuesday.

“Hopefully Rico Suave’s win has turned the corner for us.”

Wyong trainer Tracey Bartley had a day out at home, securing a double with a pair of $11 chances.

Bartley scored with Villa Tino (Reece Jones) in the Midway Maiden Plate (1100m), and Titanium Star (Ash Morgan) in the Maiden Plate (1200m).

Verbek’s all the way victory under Dylan Gibbons in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) gave leading Kembla Grange trainers a confidence booster in their bid to land a maiden Group 1 with Smashing Time (Tommy Berry) in Saturday’s $1m JJ Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm.

At Nowra, fellow Kembla Grange trainers Kerry Parker and Mitch Beer were also in the money.

Parker landed the Maiden Plate (1200m) with $17 chance Back In a Tick, ridden by his apprentice Jess Del Frari, and Beer’s $2.30 favorite Scissor Me Timbers, partnered by another apprentice Coriah Keatings, took the Maiden Handicap (1400m).

Story John Curtis, June 13, 2024 - Pics supplied


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