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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KEMBLA Grange trainer Kerry Parker is keeping his options open whether his classy mare Hope In Your Heart has another start before the $1.5m Epsom Handicap in just under a month’s time.

At her first run this spring, Hope In Your Heart ($6.50) finished an excellent third to Pericles in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday after striking trouble soon after the start and not having clear running in the early part of the straight.

Pericles is the $6 favorite with for the Group 1 Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on September 30, and Hope In Your Heart is at $11.

Racing NSW stewards reported the Dundeel five-year-old mare lost ground soon after the jump when crowded between Pericles and the favorite Olentia, who shifted in abruptly.

They also said she then had difficulty obtaining clear running in the early part of the straight.

“I was really pleased with both the runs of Hope In Your Heart and Think It Over (also third in the Group 2 wfa Chelmsford Stakes, 1600m as he continues his comeback after being off the scene for 16 months with a tendon injury),” Parker said this afternoon.

“With two horses in the feature races and then ran as well as they did, you couldn’t be anything else but pleased, and both horses have pulled up well.

“Think It Over will definitely run again in the 7 Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday week, and Hope In Your Heart may join him.

“She will run in either that race or go straight to the Epsom second-up.”

Parker has not yet confirmed an Epsom rider for Hope In Your Heart, who was partnered for the first time by Tyler Schiller in the Tramway.

The mare’s regular rider Tim Clark was to have been in Melbourne last Saturday for Alligator Blood in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), but was involved in the Wyong Cup drama a day earlier when he suffered a heavy fall from favorite Kalapour.

Clark was discharged from hospital today, but it is unclear when he will be fit to ride again. Further scans have revealed he sustained internal injuries including a couple of rib fractures.

“I had booked Tyler for Hope In Your Heart’s first two runs as Tim was to be going to Melbourne, so we will just have to wait and see,” Parker said.

He added the plan with Think It Over was always to give him three runs a fortnight apart (he ran a close sixth on resumption in the Group 1 Winx Stakes, 1400m at Randwick on August 19 before last Saturday’s Chelmsford), and then after the 7 Stakes have a month’s gap to the new race, the $5m Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) at the same track on October 14.

“He went great in the Chelmsford,” Parker said. “He never shirked his task after giving the leaders a decent start into the straight, and was beaten only a half-length.”

Think It Over is currently at $11 for the King Charles, with dual Doncaster Mile winner Mr Brightside (unbeaten in two Melbourne starts since resuming) a dominant $2.80 favorite.

Provided Think It Over comes through the King Charles okay, he will be off to Melbourne to have a crack at the Group 1 wfa Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley a fortnight later.

*Story John Curtis, September 4, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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