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  • Provincial Racing NSW


LONGSHOT winners ruled the roost at Kembla Grange on Thursday as leading local trainers Rob and Luke Price snared a milestone treble and Hawkesbury trainers Ed Cummings and Steve O’Halloran joined in as well.

The Price boys scored with Pretty Rho ($51), Island Dec ($13) and Madam Rupee ($101), whilst Cummings produced Cohesive to score impressively first-up at $13, and O’Halloran landed the closer with $21 shot Jaex.

The three Price winners were all ridden by different jockeys; Robbie Downey getting Pretty Rho home in the Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m).

Tommy Berry rode debutante Kermadec filly Island Dec in the 2YO Maiden Plate (1000m), and Jean Van Overmeire was aboard rank outsider Madam Rupee in the 3YO Maiden Handicap (1200m).

Van Overmeire also rode Jaex for O’Halloran in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m), whilst Cohesive had Tom Sherry aboard as she put paid to her rivals in the Super 4YO & Up Maiden Handicap (1200m).

The Price treble gave the father and son combination an important result at their home track.

“We had four winners at Moruya or five in the one day a long time back, but that’s our first treble at home,” said co-trainer Luke Price.

He told RacingNSW stewards that Dundeel filly Madam Rupee was having only her third start and second since a break, and had not been comfortable on heavy ground when a resuming ninth against her own sex at Kembla Grange on May 18.

Price said she had taken improvement from that run, and the stable had expected improvement from her on a better surface (Soft 6).

Cummings produced Xtravagant four-year-old Cohesive for an impressive victory at only her fourth start, and first since early January.

Despite racing wide throughout, Cohesive burst away over the closing stages to score by nearly four lengths from $2.15 favorite Euromaster, with fellow Hawkesbury representative, Phil and Tara Vigouroux’s Legrix ($41), third.

“We’ve been a bit quiet lately (his previous winner was Odegaard at Hawkesbury on May 23), so it was good to get back into the winning list,” Cummings said.

“I liked this mare’s chances, and she didn’t let us down.”

Cohesive, a lightly-raced four-year-old daughter of Xtravagant and four-times Melbourne winner Unabated, was bred by Newhaven Park and has been with Cummings from the start of her career.

“She was always a bit behind and timid, and Newhaven decided not to continue with her after she had trialled ingloriously over 800m at home in June last year,” Cummings said.

“We bought her online (for $16,000) the following month, and the Barwick family and other clients came in to race her with me.”

Cummings’ decision to purchase Cohesive gained a boost even before her Kembla performance in regard to her potential as a future broodmare when an Ole Kirk yearling filly fetched $1m at the Gold Coast Magic Millions sale in January.

That filly is out of Unabated’s daughter Supara, a Sydney winner and thrice Group 2 placegetter.

Cummings hopes to make it two wins in three days with the talented Strait Acer (Tim Clark) in Saturday’s Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick, and has opted to put blinkers on him.

Strait Acer has returned home after not securing a start in last Saturday’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) when second emergency.

“I intended to use them had he made the Stradbroke field,” Cummings said.

“I’ve always felt he needed blinkers, but there was no need to risk spoiling things whilst ever he was racing well.

“It’s got to the point where it’s the right time to introduce them.

“Strait Acer loves Randwick and the 1400m, and has drawn well. He was beaten only two lengths at his latest run in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben, and comes back to Listed grade.”

Strait Acer last raced at Randwick over the Civic course when runner-up to Territory Express in the $1m Provincial-Midway Championships Final on April 13.

O’Halloran had also had undergone a quiet period until Rico Suave scored at Wyong last Thursday; his first winner since Jaex also won there in March.

And he wasn’t the least surprised when the latter burst back into winning form at Kembla Grange.

“Her last run at Kembla Grange last month was good as she ran fifth after racing on the inside section of the track, which was inferior,” O’Halloran said.

“I decided to put both blinkers and a tongue tie on her today, and a couple of gallops she had in the three weeks between runs were sharp.

“Jaex is not a big mare, but is very tough. She doesn’t know how to give in and was going as well today at the end of the race as she was on the home turn.”

Story John Curtis, June 20, 2024 - Pic Bradley Photos

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