Kim Waugh qualified a third horse for the Provincial Championships final at Randwick next month after Hetty Heights, (pictured) the mare she described as a “nasty little girl,” produced an explosive finish to win the Newcastle Qualifier at Wyong on Sunday.
Brenton Avdulla, who had to weave a passage through the field on the mare mid race on the track rated a heavy 8, was so impressed with the win that on returning to scale told Waugh he wanted to ride Hetty Heights in the final.
Waugh qualified both Supreme Effort and His Majesty when they finished first and second in the Wyong Qualifier while Newcastle’s Qualifier was switched to Wyong after last Wednesday’s meeting was washed out.
Hetty Heights could not have been more impressive but Waugh described the lead up to getting her to the barrier as a nightmare. “You should have seen us trying to saddle her up,” Waugh said. “She bites and kicks.
“She is a nasty little girl.”
Hetty Heights then broke away from Waugh’s foreman, Terry Bellew, in the parade yard as Avdulla was preparing to be legged aboard but was quickly recaptured after slipping slightly on the wet path.
Avdulla gave her a long, slow canter to the barrier and she was inspected by the vet and cleared to start.
The drama did not end there.
Avdulla was forced to go back to near last from the wide barrier and at the 500 metres was strung up in traffic before weaving a passage to be poised behind the leaders at the top of the straight.
When Avdulla asked for an effort she responded down the outside with an amazing burst of acceleration to race away and win by one and a half lengths from the Kris Lees trained Marple Miss with another of the Lees’ runners, Electric Power, a further long head away third.
“It is easy to overcome problems like that when you are on a fast horse,” Avdulla said.
“That is an amazing effort for Kim to have three horses in the final considering she does not have a big stable.
“I wore two pairs of goggles and at the 700 metres I couldn’t see anything so I took the first pair off and used the clean ones and had a clear view of what was ahead. ”
Waugh has refused to be drawn into which of her three she rates the best chance.
“They are all similar in that all three have a good turn of foot,” she said.
“I won’t be doing very much with Hetty Heights before the final because she is only lightly framed and does not need a lot of work.”
Supreme Effort and His Majesty will trial at Newcastle on March 29.
The two minor place getters give Lees four runners in the final with Danish Twist and Parraay finishing second and third in the Kembla Qualifier.
“They were all one run short going into the qualifiers but should be at their peaks for the final,” Lees said.
While Lees has yet to sort out his riders Waugh almost has her riding commitments sorted out now that Avdulla wants to stay with Hetty Heights.
Blake Shinn will ride His Majesty while Waugh will talk with James McDonald tomorrow about Supreme Effort which he rode in the Wyong Qualifier.
John O’Shea produced an amazing training effort to win three races for Godolphin with horses all returning from lengthy spells.
Eschiele, ridden by Tim Clark, easily won the Montgomery Homes Three Year Old Maiden (1200m) at his first start in 12 months while Brenton Avdulla linked with the stable to win the Totally Workwear Tuggerah Maiden (1350m) with Hanika and the Wideline Benchmark 75 (1000m) with Mesa.
Those two plus the win by Hetty Heights in the Provincial Championships Qualifier and a win on the Gai Waterhouse trained first starter French Blue in the Carlton Mid Two Year Old Maiden gave Avdulla four winners despite nursing an injured thumb courtesy of an accident at Gosford on Thursday.
Despite that he rode at Rosehill on Saturday and won the N E Manion Cup on Libran for Chris Waller and had six rides on the nine race Wyong program.
“The thumb is sore but I am coping,” Avdulla said.
Hanika was having her first start since July last year while Mesa had not started since coming from Victoria and winning his maiden at Hawkesbury last August.
“It’s been a great day and a real team effort,” foreman, Billy Jackson-Stops, said.
At this equivalent Wyong meeting last year Eschiele ran second, as a colt, in a two year old maiden and had not started since until today’s win, as a gelding.
O’Shea gave the son of Medaglia D’oro 12 months off to grow and develop and the move has paid dividends.
Eschiele went right away in the straight to win by three and a quarter lengths for Clark.
“His form on wet tracks as a two year old was good so we thought these conditions would suit him,” Jackson-Stops said.
“That was a nice win and he could make a mid week horse.”
Clark let Eschiele drop back to mid field early then moved up three and four wide on the turn before kicking away to win as he liked.
Hanika also resumed from a long break to grab the lead on the line and win the Totally Workwear Tuggerah Maiden (1350m) to give Avdulla the second of his four winners.
It was the filly’s first start since July when she ran sixth at Canterbury.
Avdulla opened his run of winners on French Blue after riding the colt in a trial at Randwick earlier this month.
“I was so impressed I told Gai (Waterhouse) I would go wherever was necessary to ride the horse,” Avdulla said.
“He is such a big, powerful horse that the 1000 metres had me a little worried but once he got to the front he was never going to get beaten.
“He is far better than a provincial class horse.
“He has been working with some pretty smart horses and showing just how much potential he has.”
The beautifully bred French Blue is by More Than Ready from the Redoute’s Choice mare Ocean Dream, a winner of two races including one at Caulfield.
He is her second foal to race.
Just as impressive was the Gerald Ryan trained colt Deploy which also led all the way to win the Middo Family Maiden (1000m) for Christian Reith.
That followed a succession of placings on city tracks including a close second to Le Romain at Randwick in January.
Ryan fitted blinkers to Deploy for the first time and he believes that made a difference.
“He is a hard going horse at home and has not had a lot of experience with other horses and that is why I put the blinkers on,” Ryan said.
“Fortunately he did not pull in the race and the win will give him a lot of confidence.”
Reith allowed Deploy to settle just in the lead on the outside of Hay One but dropped that horse before the turn and ran away, without being extended, to win by five lengths in a slick 57.71 seconds on a track rated a slow 7.
The Jason Coyle trained New Endeavour revelled in the heavy conditions to storm down the outside and win the Peter Mac’s Mechanical Class One (1350m) for Kathy O’Hara.
It was his first win for Coyle after the three year old was originally trained at Armidale by Stirling Osland and won a Gunnedah two year old, also on a rain affected track.
Later he was sent to Victoria to Leon and Troy Corstens but failed in one run for them before being switched to Coyle.
New Endeavour was having his fifth start for Coyle and although he failed to run a place in any of the previous four Coyle said he had not been beaten far in any of them.
“I a couple of cases he ran into some bad luck,” Coyle said.
“He has been tending to go hard in shorter races so we decided to step him up in distance and ride him quietly off a slower tempo.
“It worked so we will keep him around this distance for the time being.”
O’Hara dropped New Endeavour out to second last early then last before taking off around the outside of the field and finishing down the centre of the track to win by two lengths from By Golly Molly which also came from the tail of the field.
The Anthony Cummings trained Aurora’s Star may have earned herself a start in the Australian Oaks following her win in the Twin Lakes Air Pty Ltd Benchmark 65 (2100m).
Aurora’s Star, ridden by Mitchell Bell, finished hard to win by a long neck from The Explorer (Thomas Huet) which appeared the likely winner half way down the straight.
“There has been talk at the stable about starting her in the Oaks but that is up to the boss,” stable foreman, Marisa Ingelno, said.
“That was a great ride by Mitchell.
“She can tend to go hard and needs cover and that is what Mitchell found.”
Aurora’s Star is bred to be an Oaks horse, by Medaglia D’oro from the Hussonet mare Miss Darcey which ran third in the 2009 Oaks.
Ironically Miss Darcey won her maiden, over 2100 metres, at Wyong in 2008.
Bell was able to find cover in fourth position, one off the fence and stayed there until he went three wide approaching the turn before came between horses in the straight to catch The Explorer (Thomas Huet) near the line and win by a long neck.
Warwick Farm trainer Michael Costa had a second placing at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday and an hour later went one better when Exemption, courtesy of a rails hugging ride from Rachael Murray, won the ATC At Wyong Wednesday, March 30 Class Two (1600m).
Costa recently set up a satellite stable at Eagle Farm and was at the Sunshine Coast, leaving stable representative Angelina Budzinauskas to saddle up Exemption.
“We have gone one better down here but both stables are kicking goals,” she said.
“We had planned for Rachael to have him out wide in the straight but that plan obviously went out the window.”
Murray had Exemption back last before making a move along the inside and when other riders opted go wider looking for better ground she was presented with all the room in the world.
Exemption sprinted quickly to go on and win by one and three quarter lengths from the early leader Grand Castagno which stuck on well with the favourite Shoepeg a further half head away third.