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  • Provincial Racing NSW


KERRY Parker’s “big guns” are back – and being readied for Group 1 autumn carnival missions.

Near $8m earner Think It Over and stablemate Hope In Your Heart have returned to the Kembla Grange’s trainer’s boutique stable to get their groundwork done, with the autumn just around the corner.

Parker is readying Think It Over for another crack at the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick in April during The Championships, and Hope In Your Heart’s target is the $1m Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 16.

Eight-year-old Think It Over won the 2022 edition of the Queen Elizabeth after a daring Nash Rawiller ride when he skirted the outside rail in the straight on a heavy surface took him to a $41 victory over Zaaki, but a subsequent serious tendon injury not only ruled him out of defending his “title” last year, but also threatened to end his racing career.

Not only did he make it back to the track under Parker’s astute guidance, but again beat Zaaki in a tense finish to the $1m 7 Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in September at his third run after such a lengthy absence.

Parker had intended to take Think It Over to Melbourne for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley in late October, but pulled the plug after he finished sixth to Fangirl in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (160m) at Randwick a fortnight earlier.

“The King Charles was his next run after winning the 7 Stakes, and he raced a bit flat,” Parker said. “So we didn’t go ahead with the Cox Plate plan.

“Think It Over had done a magnificent job to even race again, let alone win a $1m feature.

“He had a nice break, and is cruising along in the early stages doing pacework and is looking great.”

So You Think gelding Think It Over has won 13 (and has been placed 12 times) of his 39 starts, and has earned $7,841,820.

Whereas he is a dual Group 1 winner, Hope In Your Heart is yet to achieve success at racing’s highest level, and Parker would dearly love to tick that box with her this autumn.

The five-year-old Dundeel mare is a Group 2 winner (Guy Walter Proven Thoroughbred Stakes, 1400m at Randwick in February) and dual Group 3 placegetter.

She came closest to becoming a Group 1 winner when runner-up to Atishu in the $1m Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in April.

Hope In Your Heart had won the Guy Walter first-up before finishing fourth in both the Coolmore Classic and Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick.

Parker gave his talented mare a freshen up after she ran in the $2m Five Diamonds (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 11, having backed up after returning from Melbourne where a week earlier, she ran ninth to Pride Of Jenni in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, when held up for clear running over the closing stages and could not be tested.

Hope In Your Heart was placed in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in early September at the beginning of her latest campaign.

Story John Curtis, December 30, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos

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