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Listed Hills Railway Stakes preview

3 minute read

Michael Hickmott is cautious heading to Oakbank for Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Hill Railway Stakes with last year’s winner Taunting.

Picture: Race Images South

Coming off a solid campaign where he went to the paddock on the back off two impressive Victorian wins, Michael Hickmott said Taunting was always a risky proposition at his return to racing.

"He's always vulnerable first-up and he prefers to get his toe into the ground,'' Hickmott said.

"He's going to need to run right up to his best, he's gone up three and half kilograms from his win last year with a couple of victories as well and it looks to be a solid race.

"By that time of the day we'll know whether the track is or isn't playing well, basically I think it will come down to how the pattern is and the fact the horse is renowned for being vulnerable first-up,'' he said.

Richard and Chantelle Jolly have Aitch Two Oh heading to the feature and will use a proven formular with the talented mare.

While some trainers like to familiarize their horses with the famous Adelaide Hills circuit and in unique downhill home turn before race day, Jolly likes his horses to go in sight unseen.

"That's the way I've always treated Oakbank,'' Jolly said.

"I know some people think different. I think back in history the jumpers have always had to familiarise themselves with the course but over the years I've seen a lot of horse's trial well and then not race that well.

"I think they know what's coming the second time, my preference is to not to take them there prior to racing (there),'' he said.

Aitch Two Oh brings the class factor to the Listed feature, a Group 3 winner in her two-year-old season and Listed Durbridge Stakes winner two runs back.

Jolly said it was a sheer case of being beaten for speed last time out when she was beaten 4.6 lengths in the Listed Manihi Classic behind exciting talent Austmarr on Adelaide Cup Day.

"She was beaten for pace and probably just blew out a little bit late,'' Jolly said.

"We've got her a little bit fitter, hopefully she can navigate the hill,'' he said.

It's big day for Jolly and co-training daughter Chantelle, saddling up eight runners on a big day of racing.

They also have Jacks On Ice in the Railway while another consistent performer Yuri Royale tackles the $107,250 Onkaparinga Cup (2150m), Does It and Montepulciano resume in The Vintage over 1400m while Wild Imagination tackles the other feature – the Queen Of The Hills over 1400m.

The Jolly family have a rich history in the Railway Stakes.

Richard won it once as a jockey in 1997 aboard the Paul Seater-trained Yarli Gold and has won it three times as trainer with Oahu in 2006, Very Discreet in 2010 and then All Banter in 2022.

His bother David has an even more impressive record in the race.

He won it consecutive years with The Chunkster (2008) and Tramuntana in 2009 before again winning the race two years in a row with Cornelia Maie (2011) and Basil Da Man in 2012, his latest coming with Streetcar Isabelle in 2015.

David saddles up Larimer Street in the Railway, a horse who was second in the race behind All Banter in 2022 while he'll put the saddle on track specialist Skinder late in the day.

Skinder has won two of her three Oakbank starts and has won a recent trial there since her last win beating Cry Cry Baby back in January.

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