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  • Provincial Racing NSW


SAM Kavanagh was at the Scone Cup carnival in May last year when he noticed a well-bred young horse finish second at only his second start.

Little more than a week later the then three-year-old was in his stable after he purchased him online through Inglis Digital for $100,000.

Fast forward 11 months and that horse, the now four-year-old Kayobi, gives the Newcastle-based trainer a great opportunity to secure his biggest triumph in the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick today.

Kayobi, courtesy of a Gosford Qualifier (1200m) victory on March 16 and a very favorable barrier draw especially compared with a couple of his strongly fancied rivals, is now the $4 outright favorite with

Brenton Avdulla partnered the gelding for the first time in his Gosford victory, and rides him again in the Final.

Kavanagh, who began training in his native Adelaide 11 years ago, related the story of how he decided to purchase Kayobi, unbeaten in four starts under his banner.

“I had seen him run a close second in a strong Maiden (1000m) at the Scone Cup meeting at his first start in eight months,” he said.

“The horse which beat him (Economics) subsequently won a Listed race in Sydney and is also running at Randwick on Saturday in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint.

“Kayobi has a really good pedigree. His dam is a Redoute’s Choice mare (Mardi) who won four races in Sydney, his granddam (Bianca) won the Wyong and Newcastle Cups and was just beaten in The Metropolitan, and of course his sire is the Japanese star Maurice.

“You are always on the lookout for suitable horses to promote your stable, and having raced only twice, obviously there was plenty of upside with him.

“Whilst it was disappointing a virus prevented us from running in the Four Pillars at Rosehill Gardens last spring, we were able to give him a spell and aim at this series.

“I’ve been really happy with Kayobi’s progress since Gosford. He trialled well at Scone last week (winning a 910m trial for Aaron Bullock) and his work on Tuesday morning was excellent.

“He goes to Randwick in great order, has drawn nicely, and we are all pretty excited about his chances.”

Kavanagh won’t know which way to look if Kayobi wins Saturday’s Final.

“It’s a great group which races Kayobi, and there will be a lot of good stories out of the owners if that happens,” he said.

“Robert Canceri was one of my first owners when I started training in Adelaide, and Kayobi races in his colours.

“A number of good friends are in the horse along with some new ones, and we also have the Thoroughbred Girls syndicate which promotes women in racing.

“Kayobi has already more than repaid the money we paid for him last year, and I’ve got no doubt we haven’t yet seen the best of him.

“He has had only the six starts, and I feel he will get even better next season as a five-year-old.”

Kavanagh, who trained at Muswellbrook for a time before shifting to Newcastle 14 months ago, thus giving him eligibility for the series, says having such a good representative in the Provincial-Midway Championship Final is a wonderful advertisement for his boutique stable.

“I’ve got 20 horses in work at Broadmeadow, and that allows me to focus strongly on doing the very best I can for all my owners.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I’m slowly building my stable, and winning with Kayobi on Saturday would be a fantastic result.”

HOOFNOTE: Kavanagh purchased two horses at the Inglis Digital sale in late May last year.

As well as Kayobi, he also paid the same amount ($100,000) for Aramayo, a former member of the powerful Chris Waller stable.

“Aramayo has also well and truly repaid the money we paid for him,” Kavanagh said.

“He earned $146,000 in his first three runs for us late last year, finishing fifth in The Hunter at home in November, fourth in The Group 2 The Ingham (formerly Villiers Stakes) at Randwick in December and then second in the Bernborough Plate at Doomben a fortnight later.

“Aramayo will run next in either the Tamworth Cup (1400m) on April 21 or Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) the following day. Both races are worth $200,000.”

*Words - John Curtis April 6, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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