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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT’S been quite a weekend for many provincial stables!

Leading Kembla Grange trainers Rob and Luke Price had a weekend double, including a comeback winner for jockey Brock Ryan, there was a Brisbane winner for Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer, Wyong trainer Damien Lane celebrated his birthday with a home track victory, and Hawkesbury trainer Peter Green farewelled his stable stalwart Butch’N’Bugs with a farewell win at Kembla Grange.

That wasn’t all. Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup edged closer to a career 300 with a Wyong success today, and Kembla Grange pair Brett Lazzarini and Joe Ible also were in the winning list, the former at his home meeting yesterday and latter at Nowra today, as were Wyong trainers Sara Ryan and Denim Wynen at their local meeting today.

Team Price scored with Headstock ($8.50), who produced a determined finish to land the Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1200m) at home yesterday.

The father and son team followed up by winning at Nowra today with $3 favorite Slickman in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m), giving stable rider Brock Ryan an important successful return from a shoulder reconstruction. Another Kembla Grange trainer Brett Lazzarini was also a home track winner yesterday, taking the Midway 3YO Maiden Handicap (1400m) with Steel Blaze ($6.50). Lazzarini nearly brought off the quinella, Steel Blaze’s stablemate Life Coach ($11) giving a ton of cheek before finishing a close third.

Fellow Kembla Grange trainer Joe Ible joined the Prices with a Nowra victory today.

Ible won the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1600m) with $2.30 favorite Ninja Star, ridden by Louise Day. He has now won two races from only four starts with the daughter of Maurice, whom he purchased for $13,000 online in April. “Ninja Star is going well, and is ready to step up to provincial company,” he said.

Day also was associated with yesterday’s Conditional Open Handicap winner Butch’N’Bugs ($21), who came from last at the 800m after striking trouble soon after the start. But the seven-year-old gelding’s Kembla Grange victory was his last start for Hawkesbury trainer Peter Green, who has sent him north to be trained at the Gold Coast by Joel Pengilly.

“Joel and I have known each other since our harness racing days,” Green said. “The decision was made to send Butch’N’Bugs to Queensland before he won yesterday,” Green said.

“I’m sure he will do well there with Joel.”

A $3000 Scone yearling purchase, Butch’N’Bugs has been a stable stalwart, winning five races and earning just over $175,000, including a BOBS bonus.“He has always popped up for us when we needed him to,” Green added. Newcastle’s Jason Deamer opted to run Hard To Say in Brisbane rather than at Rosehill Gardens – and it paid off. Ridden by Ashley Morgan, the four-year-old had little go his way in the run, but gallantly took the Class 3 Plate (1050m) to make it two wins from as many starts this campaign.

He had won a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m) first-up at Rosehill on August 5.

“It made sense to go to Brisbane,” Deamer said. “Hard To Say was extremely well placed in a Class 3 Plate. “He is a more mature horse now, and it is showing in the way he is racing.

“I’ll talk with Dynamic Syndications to determine whether we give him another run or a break. “Being a Magic Millions horse, we have to consider looking at their big meeting at the Gold Coast in January.”

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup edged to one shy of a career 300 when Sacred Girl ($11) broke through at Wyong today in the Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m).

“She has been too laidback in her races, and I tried blinkers without success,” Widdup said.

“So we put a nose roll on her today and were able to ride her more positively, and she did the job for us. “It wasn’t the strongest Maiden, but great to get a win for James’ Moss Tricolours Racing & Syndications and her large group of owners.”

Wyong trainers Damien Lane, Sara Ryan and Denim Wynen all had wins at their home track meeting; the first of the two-day Wyong Cup carnival. Lane celebrated a birthday by winning the Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m) with Oakfield Redgum ($2.60 favorite) against her own sex. “The map looked really good for her today,” Lane said. “She is better if she can find the front, get a couple of cheap sectionals and roll along from the 500m. “Definitely better ridden that way than sit and sprint.”

Ryan won the Benchmark 68 Handicap (2100m) with Frank Express ($15), a son of unbeaten European champion Frankel. He had broken through in a Midway Maiden (1600m) at Newcastle earlier in the month. Wynen took the Johnnie Roberts Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m), named in honour of the late popular Wyong trainer, with Obvious Step ($6.50). The six-year-old mare overcame a slow getaway and didn’t have a trouble-free run in the straight either, but was still good enough to score.

Hard To Say’s rider Ashley Morgan partnered dual acceptor Obvious Step, who was withdrawn from the longer Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m) against her own sex.

Article by John Curtis, 28th August 2023. Photo: Bradley Photos, Butch 'n' Bugs

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