As Racing in Sydney enjoyed the Australia-wide spotlight last weekend, courtesy of the inaugural $10M The Everest over 1200m at Randwick, Hawkesbury trainers were busy reaching their own summits with two locally-prepared horses saluting at Cessnock and Kembla Grange.
Veteran horseman Terry Croft had his six-year-old gelding Colonial Reign ideally placed at Cessnock on Friday afternoon for talented apprentice Jean Van Overmeire, prevailing in a thrilling finish as favourite over 1570m.
Saturday’s bumper card of racing diverted focus from the provincial circuit, but it didn’t stop leading trainer Brad Widdup from providing yet another winner from his blossoming stable, courtesy of a well-timed ride from Blake Spriggs.
It was last start Hawkesbury winner Pleasantries who gave Widdup his 14th winner for the season, albeit in a field of three, yet the professionalism of the four-year-old mare who made it two starts for two wins in the process meant bigger and better targets are on the horizon.
Widdup had come tantalisingly close to providing his first stakes winner at Randwick that afternoon, with Fastnet Rocky filly Workdrinks holding third in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality over 1400m.
Meanwhile some five and a half hours north-west of Sydney, Hawkesbury apprentice Chelsea Ings was working as diligently as ever.
Ings rode her own “1200m champion” Nino in the class 1 handicap at Gulargambone, notching the 32nd win of her young career in the process.
Racing returns to Clarendon next Thursday 26th October, where Hawkesbury Race Club hosts The Richmond Club and visitors from the World Polo Championship.
It is a big week for the equine industry in the Hawkesbury, with the World Polo Champion hosting many equine events alongside the main draw card, polo.
"Thursday is a playing free day for the World Polo Championships and we are very pleased to welcome visitors from all over the world, in conjunction with the Richmond Club, during such a great event for the district,” said Hawkesbury Chief Executive, Greg Rudolph.