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Big Weekend For Hawkesbury Trainers

Husband and wife Mitchell and Desiree Kearney won’t forget the annual Legends Showcase meeting at Bathurst on February 11.

Big Weekend For Hawkesbury Trainers

Husband and wife Mitchell and Desiree Kearney won’t forget the annual Legends Showcase meeting at Bathurst on February 11.

Saddling their first runner as a joint training partnership, the Hawkesbury couple got a dream result with $16 chance Final Trick in the Bill Aspros Showcase Cup (1200m).

With Winona Costin aboard, Final Trick beat Barricade and Dunderry in new race record time of 1:09.37.


The now six-year-old mare gave Mitchell Kearney his breakthrough win as a trainer when successful on protest in the Hugh Bowman Maiden Cup at the same meeting two years ago.

Desiree Kearney purchased Final Trick Horseform after she had raced 20 times without winning. She has now won seven races.

“She is our stable queen,” she said. “Mitch is sometimes away on business as he works for Prestige Horse Transport, and it has always been my ambition since I left school at 15 to be a racehorse trainer.

“Our joint training partnership was approved only last week by Racing NSW, so I have achieved my goal.

“To win with our first runner was a tremendous thrill.”

The Kearneys have nine horses in work and made an important gear change with Final Trick for the Bathurst assignment, racing her minus a tongue tie.

Bathurst is always a happy hunting ground for Hawkesbury trainers, and it was no different with Wade Slinkard and Scott Singleton scoring with Stradazzle at the Showcase meeting.

THEY know each other well, so it was fitting that Hawkesbury trainers Brad Widdup and Matthew Vella each celebrated milestones at different tracks on February 10.

Widdup, his career not even 12 months old and already an emerging force in NSW racing, clinched a stakes breakthrough when his talented youngster Sandbar Horseform won the Listed Lonhro Plate at Warwick Farm.

Vella, who never has more than two or three horses in work, prepared his first quinella when Just Got Lucky Horseform and Bella Vella Horseform went 1-2 in the opening race at Kembla Grange.

Widdup prepares a big team at Damion Flower’s magnificent Platinum Park facility at Hawkesbury while Vella concentrates on breaking-in and pre-training horses- and that’s the connection between the pair.

“I break-in and pre-train for a number of leading Sydney trainers and Brad as well,” Vella said.

Because he trains only a small team Vella hadn’t had many runners since his previous winner Clip at Parkes in May of 2016.

His two representatives at Kembla Grange were his first provincial runners this season.

Just Got Lucky did best to beat his stablemate Bella Vella after Vella withdrew the pair from a Canterbury race the previous evening.

“I would have preferred not to have run them both in the same race but it’s hard to find suitable Benchmark 65s around that distance, and Kembla was an easier option than Canterbury,” Vella explained.

A five-year-old by Magnus, Just Got Lucky notched his fourth victory – and first in NSW – for owner Carmel Size.

“Just Got Lucky did his previous racing in Victoria, and Carmel was thinking about retiring him before deciding to give him to me to train,” Vella said.

Widdup trained his first winner last May and his team have already won more than $1 million prizemoney after Sandbar’s victory in the Lonhro Plate.

A $650,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase last year, the Snitzel youngster is now unbeaten from two starts and on track for the $3.5m Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 24.

“He is a real professional and has a great attitude,” Widdup said. “We’ve got a couple of options with him now leading up to the Slipper.”

Sandbar won on debut at Canterbury on January 19 despite losing a shoe in running.

Sandbar’s Warwick Farm victory came on top of stablemate Miami Dade’s win at Canterbury the previous evening and was followed by another win for the stable at Newcastle on Sunday by Resort that took Widdup’s tally for the season to 38.

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