By Duane Ranger
Bernie Hewitt and yesterday’s Redcliffe winner, Ima Black Beauty, could farewell Albion Park in the best possible way on Saturday night.
Hewitt, who hails from Georges Plain, 12km south of Bathurst, has been in Queensland for seven weeks campaigning a team of six horses. He’s netted $55,00 in purses, and said he will come back next time a better and wiser horseman.
Ima Black Beauty won’t be back.
The rising 6-year-old Always A Virgin mare, who is backing up after her 2.1m win at Redcliffe on Thursday, will have her last race in Queensland at 9.40pm.
“She will be served in the Spring. I think the owners want to race her maybe one or two more times back home and then that will be it.
“We got a nice-trip in the one-one yesterday after I rushed her off the gate. If Codi (Rauchenberger) can bide her time with her from the bad draw, and then she gets some luck, she can win again. That would be a great way to bow out,” Hewitt said.
The 11-race winner ($89,556), and all but one of Hewitt’s team, will head south on Monday after staying a little bit longer than first anticipated.
“Cathy (wife), the horses and I have been staying at Kirra (near Coolangatta), and I’ve been watching the weather radar very closely back home. That’s why we are still here.
“I don’t usually come up every year, but now that my son Doug has taken over as stable foreman back home, it allows us to get away a bit more,” Hewitt said.
“I’ve loved it and will definitely come back,” the 57-year-old added.
Hewitt has been working standardbreds for four decades and has trained and driven several Group winners.
One such Group One winner lines up at ‘The Creek’ on Saturday. Hewitt’s current ‘stable star’, Royal Story, is one of the favourites in race three at 6.12pm.
“She’s also good each-way chance. She won the 3yo Breeders Challenge Fillies Final (June 25, 2017). The draw suits her,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt said there was more to winning four races and placing numerous times with his team in Queensland this winter.
“It’s been a real learning curve for both me and the horses. You learn a lot about how horses cope with travel, their temperaments, and the change of scenery away from home.
“I know I’m a lot wiser for it and the horses will be too, next time they go away. It’s been a valuable experience and something I will hopefully pass on to Doug and the team back home,” Hewitt said.
The New South Welshman has six horses nominated for tomorrow night’s meeting, and all but one of them, opened up paying single dividends.
The only exception is $11 prospect, In The Paper, in race five, but Hewitt does drive Katchmeifucan, who is on the fourth line of betting ($6.50) in a race dominated by a loose $4 favourite.
“I can’t really tell you which horse is my best winning chance. There’s no real stand-outs They should all be thereabouts. They all even themselves out because some of the better ones have awkward draws,” he said.
Hewitt’s comments (with drivers, barrier draw, and opening odds) are:
Race 3: The Bernie Hewitt trained and driven ROYAL STORY (11) $4.50 – "She’s not ideally drawn, but she is class 105-rater and for that she was always going to cop a back-row draw. She is going well and has been consistent over the mile, and should still should still run a big race from draw. But in races like this you have to rely on luck from back there. If she gets it she can win two days before she goes home.”
Race 5: The Ben Battle driven IN THE PAPER (2) $11 – "He ran sixth (from gate five) yesterday and is also capable of going well in the back-up. Ben will take him back to his own stale tomorrow night and the horse will carry on racing here. I’d say Ben would back off him after Saturday, and give him a freshen-up. He’s had a consistent campaign and won a race for us at Albion Park (July 12). He’s not without a hope if he gets a nice trip in transit. Each-way.”
Race 5: The Bernie Hewitt trained and driven LETS KATCHMEIFUCAN (5) $6.50 – "He another horse racing consistently. He’s getting to the stage he needs a break, but again it’s all about that nice trip. If he gets it he won’t be far away. Luck equals each-way.”
Race 7: The Bernie Hewitt trained and driven BRADS LUCK (4) $4.50 – "He’s quite a strong pacer. He started off his campaign here running some big races in nice time. He is capable of going big races and he didn’t race last week, so he’s been slightly freshened for this. I’m looking forward to this, because this fella seldom runs a bad race. Each-way.”
Race 8: The Bernie Hewitt trained and driven WRITE ABOUT LEXY (5) $3 favourite - "Sportswriter 3-year-old filly taking on the older mares. She has acquitted herself well here and has drawn better this week. Last week she got held up from eight, and the draw suits her this week, because she has gate speed. She too, is an each-way prospect.”
Race 8: The Codi Rauchenberger driven IMA BLACK BEAUTY (9) $5.50 second favourite – “The draw is not too bad for her because she won’t be rushed off the gate like she was yesterday. She has pulled up very well this morning (Friday) and will be ready for the back-up. Anyway, she’s a better horse driven off the speed. If she can get a nice, quiet trip, then she is capable of finishing off her career here in style. She only needs the trip, but don’t they all?”