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Hawkesbury Preview: Tuesday, 31st August 2021

His name is synonymous with French history, but Marc Chevalier is humming to a different beat.

And the fledgling Hawkesbury trainer hopes to be singing from the rooftop tomorrow if he wins his first race on his new home track tomorrow with only his third runner.

Chevalier will saddle Tri Nations  in the Elite Sand & Soil Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m), and has switched riders to Josh Parr as last season's Hawkesbury premiership winner Jason Collett is unable to fulfil his full book because of COVID restrictions following his partner, trainer Clare Cunningham, giving birth to their first child.

Expatriate Frenchman Chevalier doesn't know if he is related at all to the legendary debonair French musical comedy star and entertainer Maurice Chevalier (who died in 1972 at 83 years of age), but is keen to forge his own path in the racing industry.

Certainly, he has done the hard yards to succeed.

Chevalier worked at the Aga Khan's stud in his homeland and Shadwell Stud in the UK before emigrating to Australia just over 10 years ago.

"I've always wanted to train in my own right, and the Aga Khan's right hand man George Rimaud was behind my move out here," Chevalier said this morning.

"He stressed I should go to all the right places to learn as much as I could.

"I worked at Arrowfield in the Hunter Valley, and then for Gary Moore at Rosehill Gardens and Danny O'Brien at Flemington."

Whilst with Moore, Chevalier was a finalist for the 2015-16 Sydney Strapper Of The Year award.

Having moved with his wife Charlotte from Victoria in May to set up shop at Hawkesbury, he has stables in Rickaby Street adjoining the back straight and currently has seven horses in his care, including three "babies" and the former O'Brien pair Kenzan and Oceanarium, both sired by Cox Plate winners.

"I've known Kenzan and Oceanarium since they were babies, and it's great to be able to now train them myself," Chevalier said.

"Kenzan is a lightly-raced four-year-old by Adelaide who sustained an injury in last year's Victoria Derby.

"He is doing his rehab and I'm looking forward to getting him going again, whilst Oceanarium is a mare by Ocean Park who has also raced only five times."

Tri Nations, previously prepared at Hawkesbury by Group 1 trainer Edward Cummings, entered Chevalier's stable via the Inglis digital sale in early July.

"A friend who rides work for Edward mentioned the horse was for sale, and I went and had a look at him," he explained.

"I probably went over my budget a bit, but we bought him for $27,500."

Wandjina five-year-old Tri Nations, who won a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) at Hawkesbury last December, nearly gave his new trainer the best possible launch to his career when, as his first starter, he went within a whisker of winning over 6 f at Scone on August 12 at $26.

"He has done well since that race, and from an inside draw tomorrow, I'm looking forward to seeing him run well again," Chevalier said.

"Naturally, it would be a huge thrill to win my first race on my home track and I'm fortunate to be able to secure a rider of Josh Parr's ability to replace Jason."

Hawkesbury's leading trainer Brad Widdup has two representatives tomorrow as he attempts to put the seal on a brilliant first month of the new season.

Widdup, who clinched his ninth August winner when Amore scored at Wyong yesterday, starts Enjolras (HRC Motel Class 1/Maiden Plate, 1 1⁄4 m) and Never Cry (Lander Toyota Class 1 Handicap, 1400m).

Enjolras, a debut winner at Newcastle in July and placed at two of three subsequent outings, will be ridden by Jay Ford, and Kerrin McEvoy partners recent Goulburn Maiden winner Never Cry.

"I'm sure Enjolras will appreciate getting out to 2000m," Widdup said. "He has been hitting a flat spot at a vital stage in his last couple of runs, but doesn't do it in his work.

"Never Cry has trained on strongly since breaking through at Goulburn. I'm really happy with him."

Enjolras ran on late when third to Bazooka in an 1 1⁄8 m Class 1 Handicap at Hawkesbury on August whilst Never Cry sustained a determined burst from well back to win over 7 f at Goulburn on August 14 (stablemate and yesterday's winner Amore ran fourth).

Last season's premier Hawkesbury trainer Mark Newnham has five runners – and two of them are pre-post favorites.

Capitalist gelding Russian Standard, raced by a Darby Racing ladies' syndicate, is at $2.40 for the TAB 3YO Maiden Plate (1000m), and Frankel filly Von Trapp is at $2.90 for the XXXX Gold F&M Maiden Plate (1300m).

Josh Parr will ride both along with stablemate Cordyceps Miracle in Never Cry's race, and Newnham's apprentice Tom Sherry has the mounts on The Mediator in the same event and Kittyhawk Flyer in Tri Nations' race.

. The rail is 3m out from the 5 1⁄2 f to 2 1⁄4 f, and in the TRUE position for the remainder of the circuit. An upgraded "Soft 5" rating was posted this morning by racecourse manager Rick Johnston. Hawkesbury has received 48mm of rain in the past week, but none in the last 24 hours.

. Paul Joice's selections are:

RACE 1: DAYSAN, Fine Ruby, Dr Evil.

RACE 2: FORTUNE HARBOUR, Stars And Shadows, Russian Standard.

RACE 3: RAGING BULL, Tyrol, King Of Hearts.

RACE 4: MA AND Otelo, Sabino.

RACE 5: VON TRAPP, Achira, I'm Divine.

RACE 6: AEECEE EXPRESS, General Soleil, Sagrado.

RACE 7: PATROLLING, Moralist, Oh Please Dianna.

BEST: RAGING BULL, MA AND VON TRAPP


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