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Hawkesbury Trainer Wants Elusive City Win

When Hawkesbury trainer Craig Weeding clinched a provincial breakthrough on his home track last September, he had only eight horses in work.
That number has since nearly doubled to 15 and he’s hoping to edge closer to another opportunity for an initial metropolitan success when his lightly-raced mare Caliera Gem puts her unbeaten record on the line at Hawkesbury on Tuesday.
Local apprentice Brandon Griffiths’ 4lbs claim will lessen her weight to 125lbs – only 1lbs over the limit – when she resumes in the Mostyn Copper Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m).
A five-year-old by Beneteau, Caliera Gem has been a slow maturer and has raced only twice so far for victories at Hawkesbury against her own sex and Taree in September last year.
Weeding has trialled Caliera Gem once this preparation – she ran second to Imperial Eagle over 4 f at Wyong on March 12 – and is looking forward to taking her back to the races.
“She is still maturing, but has come back a stronger mare this time,” Weeding said.
“I was happy with her Wyong trial, and she has trained on nicely since. This is obviously the best race she has contested to date, but I’m confident she will run well.”
Weeding broke in Caliera Gem for her owners Sue and Pip Middleton and Lisa Clark, who purchased her privately as a foal, and is looking to the mare to continue improving to provide him with a chance to make his mark in town.
Having trained for only a few seasons, he has had only one horse start in the city three times back in 2016.
“That’s the goal to get her into town,” Weeding said. “She has the ability, but she still has to do
“The next few runs will give us a better guide as to her future.”
Weeding has trained four winners this season, one less than his benchmark five last season all on country tracks.
His other Hawkesbury runner is Tickets filly The Groupie. She has raced only once, finishing sixth in a 4 1⁄2 f Maiden Plate at Queanbeyan last November.
The Kris Lees-trained Asharani, balloted out of last Saturday’s Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes at Randwick, looks one of the hardest for Caliera Gem to beat.
Brenton Avdulla will ride former Queensland filly who was a game first-up winner for her Newcastle stable in a 5 f Class 1 at Kembla Grange on March 23 on heavy ground.
The I Am Invincible three-year-old has raced only four times for two wins.
Brad Widdup, Hawkesbury’s leading trainer this season with 27 wins overall, is expecting improvement from Indicators On (Mitchell Bell).
The War three-year-old, who won twice at Orange last preparation, wasn’t beaten far when a first-up fifth in a Canberra Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m) on March
“His condition gave out the last bit, and he is down 4lbs tomorrow and has the inside barrier,” Widdup said.
this morning.
Widdup is not certain he will commit Cry Of Achilles to a start against the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Rome (Blake Shinn) in the first race on the program.
Rome has been runner-up twice at Group 3 level and was withdrawn from last Saturday’s G1 ATC Sires (1400m) at Randwick.
WIddup summed up his other chances Chia and Rare Episode on the program:-
“Chia has run well at both her starts and is getting to a suitable distance,” Widdup said. “We’ll ride her positively in the first couple.
“Rare Episode has had the benefit of a recent nice trial at Wyong and is a big heavy horse who returns as a gelding.
“He has drawn the outside in a field of but we’ll roll forward with only the one turn to negotiate.”
Rare Episode won two of his first five starts and hasn’t raced since finishing fifth at Canterbury on November

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