Attard Favours Moinda At Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury trainer Jason Attard has drawn an interesting parallel between his two runners in the same race at his home track today.

He says a bit more experience is the key factor which points to Moinda (Kathy O'Hara) being the stable elect in the Richmond Club Provincial & Country Maiden Plate (1300m) over Sharokina (Winona Costin).

Uncle Mo filly Moinda has raced five times for three placings, whereas late starter Sharokina, a five-year-old mare by Reaan, has raced only twice.

"Sharokina works every bit as well as Moinda but she gets really nervous pre-race and needs more exposure," Attard said.

"We didn't get her until earlier this season, and I feel she will be handy up to 1 m as she gets further experience.

"Moinda has to be our pick, and is certainly deserving of a breakthrough.

"I would love to win this race to get her maiden out of the way, and then spell her. I'm confident she will come back even better next season and measure up to midweek city grade."

The stablemates both contested a similar race last time at Hawkesbury on June 25 when Moinda gamely chased home odds-on favorite Blazing and Sharokina was a further four lengths astern in fifth place.

Blazing is favored for the Hawkesbury Gazette Class 1 Handicap (1300m) at today's meeting.

Attard has prepared eight winners so far this season, and is delighted with he and wife Lucy's recent move to their property at Grose Vale.

"I'm really looking forward to the new season," he said. "We've got some exciting young horses in the stable."

Today's Provincial & Country Maiden will be won by a local trainer as all eight acceptors are prepared at Hawkesbury.

Moinda and Brad Widdup's Uprise (Christian Reith) dominate pre-post discussions.

Uprise, a two-year-old son of Hinchinbrook, finished fourth on debut to Lanigera in a Newcastle 2YO Maiden Plate (900m) on June 29 after four earlier season barrier trials.

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer John Higgins has made an important gear change on Our Celtic Star, who has been placed on six occasions.

He has decided to remove blinkers from the five-year-old, and instead substitute winkers again.

Our Celtic Star was narrowly beaten by Hawkesbury rival Happy Hustler in a Kembla Grange Maiden Handicap (1300m) on June 1.

Higgins has booked Newcastle apprentice Louise Day, whose 7lbs allowance will lessen the gelding's 130lbs under the set weights conditions of this race.

Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, heading towards the end of a record-breaking season, withdrew Only Wanna Sing from a Wyong engagement on Saturday to focus on the Hawkesbury meeting.

He is utilising his apprentice Day's 7lbs claim on the three-year-old in the Hawkesbury Gazette Class 1 Handicap (1300m) to ease his 134lbs topweight down to 58kg.

"I felt Hawkesbury was a slightly better option. Only Wanna Sing is racing well and deserves a breakthrough," Lees said.

The Your Song gelding has been placed at all three starts since resuming, the latest when a close third to Unknown Universe in a stronger Class 2 Handicap (1200m) at Gosford on July 2.

Lees has racked up more than 240 winners this season – the first provincial-based trainer to hit a double century in a single season – and his horses have earned $14.3 million.

He also has booked Day for Silver Melody in the Easy Lane Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m).

His other Hawkesbury representative Hermosa Reward (Gibbons) is in the Robert Oatley Benchmark 64 Handicap (1500m).

He says she has taken improvement from a first-up fifth over 6 f on her home track last month, and has won second-up before.

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