By Glenn Davis
Trainer Bill Kenning is hoping his gold rush will continue when he saddles two feature race prospects at Cluden Park in Townsville on Tuesday.
Star Banner will stake his claims for Townsville’s Lightning Handicap in the Benchmark 69 Handicap over 1000 metres, while Mackay Guineas-bound Lady Yendor will run in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1400 metres.
Brad Pengelly is booked to ride both sprinters.
Kenning, a former jockey, has a small team of five horses in work and has only been training for around five years after injury ended his riding career.
“I got badly smashed up in a fall and broke my leg and it took over a year to get mobile again,” Kenning said.
"I've loved horses all my life so I decided to start training after I was forced to give riding away.”
Kenning bought Star Banner as a tried horse for $8,000 from Melbourne trainer Greg Eurell.
“He hadn’t run a place in nine starts in Victoria when I bought him and in the nine starts, I’ve had him he’s won four times and hasn’t been out of the prizemoney,” Kenning said.
“He’s been a goldmine to me.”
Star Banner hasn’t raced since finishing second to the consistent Our Alicia’s Lane in Townsville in April but was a late scratching at Townsville’s last meeting on July 4.
“For some reason he bolted on the way to the barrier that day and was a late scratching when he was an odds-on favourite,” Kenning said.
“He’s a very keen horse and when two horses came up behind him, he took fright and bolted.
“I’m not expecting that to happen again and if he runs a good race, I’ll set him for the Lightning Handicap in Townsville.
“I thought he was a bit unlucky first-up and although he’s out of his class tomorrow, I’m sure he’ll be competitive.”
Kenning also expects a strong performance from Lady Yendor who had her first run since December when sixth to the talented Love Is Blind in a 1300-metre Three-Year-Old Race at Townsville on July 4.
“She was first-up that day and struck bad interference when she hit the fence,” he said.
“She got over it okay and she’ll race a lot better this time even though we meet Love Is Blind worse at the weights.
“She’s been getting the grandstand and has 62.5kgs tomorrow but if she runs well and I’ll send her to Mackay for the Mackay Guineas where she’ll drop to 56kgs.”
The Mackay Guineas over 1560 metres will be run on Friday, July 31.