Duggan digs deep to prove her mettle

TOP CLASS: Apprentice Jenny Duggan pilots Pentasia to victory in  the last race at Rosehill on Saturday.   Picture: Jenny Evans
TOP CLASS: Apprentice Jenny Duggan pilots Pentasia to victory in the last race at Rosehill on Saturday. Picture: Jenny Evans

GOSFORD apprentice Jenny Duggan proved at Rosehill she is made of the right stuff.

Duggan has catapulted into the limelight progressing from an amateur rider to leading the apprentice ranks in Sydney.

She has shown she has the ability to make it in racing, but on Saturday she proved she has the metal toughness that is also needed.

She bounced back from an absolute Barry Crocker on Cantonese to win the last race on Pentasia.

Cantonese was heavily backed as smart punters thought the way the track was favouring frontrunners that Cantonese, which loves to bowl along near the lead, was the way to go.

The gelding was back and wide early and when Duggan tried to make ground she was a sitting duck for those having a cosy run behind.

Cantonese did a marvellous job to finish fourth.

The way things did not work out might have rattled an apprentice, but it did not seem to faze Duggan.

She came out in the 1100m sprint and gave Pentasia a charmed run off the pace and the horse stormed home for an easy win.

Sure it might have been that Duggan wanted to win in front of her parents Tom and Elizabeth, who are here on holiday from Sweden. Or maybe she knew she owed her followers something and she delivered.

■ Newcastle trainer Darren Smith looks to have another smart sprinter on his hands with Ainia, which bolted in at Broadmeadow on Saturday.

The filly was having her first start for Smith and thrashed the opposition by four lengths in the 900m scamper in just over 50 seconds.

She came home her final 600m in a blistering 31.67 seconds.

"She was showing ability at home and in her trial, but that effort was outstanding and she looks to have a very bright future," Smith said.

■ Dances On Stars has won just two of 11 starts, but the way the three-year-old went against the older horses on Saturday at Rosehill a big win is in the offing.

Sure. Dances On Stars was down in grade on what he was meeting during the spring carnival but he looked extra good in winning by 2½ lengths over 1350m. His record might not be the greatest right now, but he sure looks a promising type and one punters need to stick with.

■ Broadmeadow trainer Steven Hodge was justifiably impressed by the win of Winter Reign over 1400m at Newcastle on Saturday.

Winter Reign was having just her second start for Hodge.

"That was a big win as she was one of the few horses all day that made up ground from back in the field in the straight," Hodge said.

"His owners wanted a change of environment for Winter Reign and on that effort she can win again."

■ Gosford jockey Chris O'Brien had his first trip to Tasmania on Thursday night to ride at Launceston where he had one second from four outings. O'Brien summed up the southern racing outpost with two words: "Very cold."

■ The funeral for long-serving Newcastle trainer Alf Peters will be held at the Sacred Heart Church at Hamilton at 11am on Wednesday.

Peters was 90 when he died last Wednesday.

He was a trainer at Newcastle for 50 years and had some top-class horses.

Major Luck, which won a Warwick Stakes and was named Newcastle horse of the year on two occasions, was one of his best.

Di Wade, who was married to champion Newcastle jockey John Wade, who rode Major Luck, had an easy way of summing up how good the horse was.

"Old Major Luck helped put food on our table on plenty of occasions," she said with a smile.

■ Kembla Grange's Peter De Vries is the new chairman of the Provincial Racing Association of NSW.

Gosford chief James Heddo is the new deputy chairman.

They replace Newcastle Jockey Club's chairman Geoff Barnett, who was team leader for three years and Hawkesbury's Brian Fletcher, who was his deputy.

Newcastle was nominated and seconded but did not get the votes to retain the position.

■ There were seven races at Newcastle on Saturday, but there will be 18 trials at Broadmeadow today.

Five of those are for two-year-olds where Newcastle trainers Paul Perry, Kris Lees and Darren Smith are represented.

There is one youngster that does not come from the yard of any of the big three that is getting a bit of a buzz.

That is in heat five where Stable Surprize, which is trained by Ken Lantry, will make his public debut.

■ If you want a laugh do not miss The Racing Wiz on Sky Channel tonight.

It is a celebrity episode of racing's version of the old Pick A Box quiz show.

Sydney racing journalists Ray Thomas and Chris Roots take on callers Matty Hill and Brisbane's Alan Thomas.

Knowing the form very well of the journos, I would say take the short odds that the callers will win in a photo finish.


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