GOSFORD’S Duggan clan is doing a great job of putting that famous racing surname back in the spotlight.
Way back it was Sydney jockey John Duggan who hogged the headlines in his illustrious riding career. His biggest moment came in 1977 when he rode Gold And Black to victory in the Melbourne Cup for Bart Cummings.
Now it is Adam, Ben and Jenny Duggan keeping the name in racing’s winner’s circle.
On Saturday, trainer Adam stood tall when his star Frozen Rope won at Rosehill.
Adam’s brother, Ben, was the champion amateur rider of his time. His biggest win came when he met, wooed and married his Swedish sweetheart, Jenny, who was riding against him in the picnic meetings.
Jenny has gone from killing them in the amateur ranks to now being the closest of seconds in the Sydney apprentices’ title race.
She is apprenticed to Adam, and Ben takes care of managing his wife’s wide-ranging riding duties.
While Jenny is now talked about often, it is the training deeds of Adam with Frozen Rope and the great mob of owners that has to be applauded.
Now he is obviously a first-class horseman and the way he has placed Frozen Rope also shows a rare talent.
Frozen Rope looked the goods storming home to claim the benchmark 79 over 1500metres and much bigger and better wins are in store.
■ Newcastle trainer Darren Smith is still perplexed by the events that occurred with his two runners in the 1100m handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.
California Storm went like a hobbled duck when an odds favourite at Gosford last start. But on Saturday she looked like a gazelle as she dashed in the straight to win easily.
At the other end of the field, Smith’s other runner, Net Worth, finished last in the 11-strong line-up.
‘‘I told the stewards the truth: ‘I just can’t explain what happened’,’’ Smith said yesterday. ‘‘I told you on Thursday that I expected California Storm to improve, judging on her trackwork.
‘‘I said then I didn’t think there was much between my two runners and that is what I thought would happen, but they were at the two ends of the scale.
‘‘All I could say to the stewards when they questioned me was that I had gone over California Storm head to tail after the Gosford failure. Myself and the vet could not find anything wrong with her.
‘‘If you could forgive that failure, just put a line through the form from that day, then she was not hopeless yesterday.
‘‘Stewards have ordered Net Worth back to the trials, which is fair enough.
‘‘I will undertake a full examination of him and see if we can come up with any reason for the poor run.’’
Smith’s other runner, Testarhythm, again turned in a big effort when second in the final event.
■ Blinkers are supposed to make a horse focus and concentrate during races.
That sure was not the case with first starter Marseille Roulette in the Inglis Classic on Saturday at Rosehill.
Using an old racing term, he went like a drunken sailor down the straight. There was a protest from the runner-up but that was a squillion to one about being upheld.
However, if that was the best the shades could do for this promising type, then he will need plenty more education from the Waterhouse stable.
■ As reported in Stable Talk on Friday, Sydney apprentice Shaun Guymer is linking with the Steve Farley stable at Wyong this week.
He is going to be an asset for local racing, judging on Guymer’s effort to win on She’s Clean at Rosehill on Saturday.
When the mare was hanging in the straight, he just kept coaxing her to get going straight and She’s Clean responded to win to the cheers of favourite backers.
■ One to follow out of the Flemington program was Unchain My Heart, a staying type resuming over 1610m, which found the line well.
She was going sideways in the straight trying to obtain a run but when it came Unchain My Heart powered home for second. Over more ground and fitter, she is one to be on in the future.
■ Sydney apprentice Sam Clipperton made a special trip to Gosford on Friday morning for one important track gallop.
Clipperton rode trackwork at Randwick then drove north. He arrived on course at 9.25am and was legged up on Napayshini, which worked at 9.30am.
The Grant Allard-trained youngster is highly promising and is being set for the major events for two-year-olds in Sydney in the autumn.
Napayshini worked on the course proper and track touts who saw the colt were impressed.
Napayshini made an impressive debut when flashing home from last to finish second to All The Talk at Warwick Farm on December 1.
Allard decided to pass up the Inglis bonus races that his star youngster is eligible for to have a crack at the Golden Slipper. Napayshini was a $55,000 Inglis Classic buy as a yearling and connections have already knocked back big offers from overseas for the colt.
■ Kris Lees will bring his impressive stayer Award Season back in distance for his next start.
Award Season won over 2400m last start but will now run over 1900m at Canterbury on Friday night.
Lees thinks that this race is the best timed in the quest to take Award Season to Victoria. Lees has earmarked the $300,000 Mornington Cup on February 13 with Award Season.
‘‘I could have run him in the Australia Day Cup in town but the Canterbury race seems the better option,’’ Lees said.
‘‘He would have to go well at Canterbury to warrant the trip to Mornington.’’
The Mornington Cup meets the qualifying conditions for the Caulfield Cup.
■ Queenslander Norm Hilton starts his new career as a Newcastle trainer this week.
Hilton, from Toowoomba, has taken 16 boxes at Broadmeadow. He spent last week setting up the new stables. Four of his horses will stay in Queensland under a new trainer. But the move to Broadmeadow has seen owners give him five new horses to prepare.
■ A high-profile Newcastle racing identity is prepared to take any price on offer that one of the new candidates for the NJC board will get elected.
He has conducted his own poll and reckons the new candidate has enough support with his business acumen and sports connections.
If he is right, then things are getting even tighter for the 10 sitting board members trying to squeeze into the new four-person members elect section of the new committee.
The name of the candidate that has attracted the attention of the punter is Peter Dodds.
■ Champion Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson flies out on Wednesday morning for another riding adventure.
Thompson is heading to Tasmania to link with his old mate Youthful Jack.
The Ross Stitt-trained galloper is back in Tasmania for a crack at its triple crown of sprint races. Last year Thompson and Youthful Jack won all three legs. Like last year while he is in Tasmania, Youthful Jack will be trained by Adam Trinder.
On Wednesday night, Thompson will ride Youthful Jack in the $90,000 listed race over 1200m at Launceston.
■ It is hard not to like a well-named racehorse, especially when he shows ability.
At Muswellbrook on Thursday, Steve Farley from Wyong produced Fozzie Bear, which won the 1000m maiden.
Farley’s multiple group1 winner Sincero has returned to his stables after being sent to a vet centre in Sydney. He was injected with a needle for a sesamoid injury and will spend four months out.
■ Wyong trainer Kristen Buchanan produced a real training triumph with Grand Cooler first up at Muswellbrook last Thursday.
Grand Cooler gave nothing else a chance, scooting around the 1000m in startling time and winning by 6lengths.
Grand Cooler had not raced since July 7 last year.
‘‘The mare has had a few problems, but the way she won that race she can certainly go on with it now,’’ Buchanan said.
■ Gosford Race Club officials agreed with the decision to call off its meeting on Friday when temperatures hit 44.9degrees.
‘‘I am sure it was hotter after the meeting was called off,’’ Gosford course manager Steve Scollard said.