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  • Provincial Racing NSW

PROVINCIAL TRAINERS DOMINATE $1M PMC FINAL FIELD




KRIS Lees and Brad Widdup between them will have eight of the 15 runners in the $1m Provincial-Midway Championships Final.

Leading Newcastle trainer Lees added Willinga Freefall and Baltic Coast to make it a team of five for Saturday week’s feature at Royal Randwick after both were placed in today’s 1400m Wild Card at Newcastle, whilst Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Widdup qualified all three horses (Ausbred Flirt, Short Shorts and Ruby Flyer) he ran in the heats.

Willinga Freefall ($3.30 favorite) was unlucky in finishing a close second to Warwick Farm-trained Terra Mater ($3.60), whilst Baltic Coast ($26) just edged out stablemate Little Beginnings ($91) for third to also qualify for the Final.

“The one consolation about Willinga Freefall being unluckily beaten is that he won’t get extra weight going into the Final,” Lees said.

“Baltic Coast had his chance but it was a good, honest run and deserves his place in the Final.”

Racing NSW stewards cleared Willinga Freefall to contest the Final after a small amount of blood was detected in his left nostril during a post-race veterinary examination, due to a small abrasion.

As stewards were satisfied that the blood present was a result of the abrasion, the gelding was not deemed a one nostril bleeder and thus was not placed under an embargo.

Lees, who earlier won the 900m Maiden Handicap with All Too Hard filly First Person ($4), had already qualified Newcastle winner Tavi Time (pictured above), and Hawkesbury and Gosford placegetters Convincebility and Willinga Beast.

He has won five of the nine runnings of the series and is chasing his fourth in a row, having scored with Cristal Breeze in 2021, Kinloch in 2022, and Spangler last year.

Following the running of the Wild Card, TAB.com.au released its market for the Final, with Tavi Time the $3.20 favorite ahead of Kembla Grange Qualifier winner Territory Express ($5) and Gosford Qualifier winner Shadows Of Love ($7).


Ausbred Flirt ($9 above) is the highest-rated of the Widdup trio, with Ruby Flyer and Short Shorts both rated $26 chances.

Including Lees’ five and Widdup’s three, provincial trainers dominate the Final with 12 of the 15 runners.

. Whilst Kembla Grange trainer Kerry Parker missed out on the chance to qualify Well Timed for the Final when he was a late Wild Card withdrawal at the barrier after kicking out and suffering multiple abrasions to his hind legs, he at least did not return home empty-handed.

Parker earlier scored with Callistemon ($5) in the Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1250m), ridden by his apprentice Jess Del Frari. The Territories filly had also won a Newcastle Maiden (900m) on March 21.

. The latest TAB.com.au market on the PMC Final is:

$3.20 Tavi Time

$5 Territory Express

$7 Shadows Of Love

$9 Ausbred Flirt, Strait Acer

$11 Terra Mater

$15 Willinga Freefall

$26 Ruby Flyer, Short Shorts, Willinga Beast

$34 Victory Lane, Willaidow

$51 Baltic Coast, Convincebility

$71 Nosey Parker

Story John Curtis, April 3, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

 

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