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Hawkesbury News: 25th January 2023

Bargain buy Putt For Dough was on show again today and made it two impressive provincial wins in a week.

And whilst his Hawkesbury trainer Mick Attard afterwards entertained thoughts of giving the $5000 online purchase a crack at a "major" in the shape of the forthcoming Provincial-Midway Championships, the conditions of the annual series say otherwise.

Putt For Dough, bought by his 84-year-old owner Bernie Young last October after an unplaced debut run at Tamworth earlier that month, added today's Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m) at Gosford to his breakthrough Wyong Provincial Maiden victory over the same distance last Wednesday.

Despite being bumped on jumping from the starting stalls by the odds-on favorite Chipper ($1.75), Putt For Dough ($3.80) recovered quickly under jockey Winona Costin and trailed $81 outsider Luckyimwithaimee and the former.

The gelding put paid to Chipper in the straight and led home a Hawkesbury quinella, with Steve O'Halloran's Martini Crusader ($6.50) doing his best work late to finish second.

"Putt For Dough did so well after his Wyong win that I felt it was worth a shot to back him up today, and he did the job for us again," a delighted Attard said on his way home.

"He's a highly strung horse and takes some looking after, and I use ear muffs on him on the way to the start to help settle him.

"There's no doubting his ability, and I knew I had a nice horse once I got him going and gave him a jumpout at home with stablemate Chyna Xpress (a Queanbeyan winner earlier in the month and then narrowly beaten at Muswellbrook nine days later).

"She is a fast mare and he led her by four lengths before she caught him at the end.

"I've got five paddocks at my stables, and Putt For Dough enjoys going out in one of them during the day and is stabled at night."

Now that Putt For Dough has raced twice in a week, Attard isn't planning on starting him again for a few weeks – and a hat-trick bid could be on the cards at his home track in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) when racing resumes on February 14.

"Either that or I might take him to Brisbane for a Class 3 Plate (1200m) at Eagle Farm on February 18," Attard said.

The Hawkesbury horseman believes his lightly-raced four-year-old will run 7 f and was keen to give him his chance in the Provincial-Midway Championships.

However, the conditions of the series state that eligible horses have to be in the care of the trainer with a current stable return lodged on or before July 1 last year.

Unfortunately for his connections, through no fault of theirs, that makes Putt For Dough ineligible as he was not in Attard's care at that time.

Attard has done a splendid job with Putt For Dough and claimed his third success of the season, clinching a Gosford double for Hawkesbury stables in the process.

Randwick trainer John O'Shea earlier won his seventh race this season from his second base at Hawkesbury when debutante Announcing overcame difficulties to land the Maiden Plate (1200m).

A well backed $3.70 second favorite, the Press Statement three-year-old snatched victory from $19 chance Better Than Anyone in the shadows of the post.

RacingNSW stewards reported the filly became unbalanced near the 1 f when bumped on the hindquarter by Bespangled ($3.30 favorite), which shifted out.

Then passing the 0, Announcing started to hang out and shifted out abruptly.

The experience of the filly's rider Brenton Avdulla, who shifted the whip to his left hand to straighten her, saved the day and she found the winning post in the nick of time.

Raced by a Champion Thoroughbreds syndicate, Announcing had four trials – two in May and June last year, and another two, at Hawkesbury in December and Gosford this month (which she won) – in the lead-up to today's debut.

She is the first foal of the New Approach mare Nova Rocha, who was ridden in her sole victory (at Wangaratta in November, 2017) from only a handful of starts by Clayton Douglas, now the trainer of last year's The Everest hero Giga Kick.


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