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Sweet Dolly comeback edges closer

By Tony McMahon

Rockhampton racing’s darling Sweet Dolly has completed six months of rehabilitation at her trainer Kevin Hansen’s North Rockhampton stables and is now set for a well-earned paddock holiday.

After being purchased at a pauper’s price for just $1500 when a weanling, she ascended to recognition as the best juvenile princess in Queensland last season.

Raced by Ken and Michelle Walker, Sweet Dolly’s prizemoney climbed to $477,750 after she won the lucrative QTIS 2YO Jewel (1200m) at the Gold Coast on March 13.

That followed wins in the Pallarenda at Townsville, the Listed Calaway Gal in Brisbane and the QTIS 2YO Jewel Prelude at the Sunshine Coast in February.

Hansen and Sweet Dolly’s owners were crestfallen as shortly after her Gold Coast win, a suspensory ligament injury became apparent.

“The injury was a little hole around the sesamoid area; we took her down to the University of Queensland at the Gatton Equine Centre where she had plasma treatment for the front leg injury,” Hansen said.

“To recover fully and not further damage the injury she had to be kept at the stables and for six months with treatment.

“We had it re-scanned on Tuesday of this week and it looked really good – beautiful.”

He said Sweet Dolly would now be turned out into a paddock to enjoy a much-deserved recuperative rest.

“She will be spelled at the owners’ property until probably at least December. Then we can bring her in and hopefully plan for some feature races next year,” he said.



Aquis Park Gold Coast | Gold Coast Turf Club | 3:28 PM


Riding on the wave of Sweet Dolly’s successes, Michelle and Ken Walker purchased her close relative - a Heroic Valour-Sonador Angel brown yearling filly - at the Gold Coast March Sales three days after her Jewel win.

The Captain Sonador mare, Sonador Angel, the mother of the filly now named Heroic Angel, is a half-sister to Sweet Dolly which explains why the Walkers won a spirited bidding duel to acquire the yearling.

It seems it may have been a fortuitous purchase as indications are that galloping certainly runs in the family.

At her first jump out at Yeppoon’s Keppel Park racecourse a fortnight back, Heroic Angel went superbly finishing a close third when given a relaxed ride by Sweet Dolly’s jockey Justin Stanley.

Ironically, Stanley 40, has been sidelined as long as Sweet Dolly on whom he has partnered in all four wins.

Stanley sustained a left knee injury at Gatton races in early April occasioning a full reconstruction.

While Justin recently resumed track work riding, he still has not received the all clear from his Brisbane surgeon to resume race riding.

“I’ve had a little setback which I am over now but I don’t go back to the surgeon until October 22 - hopefully I will be given the all clear then,” Stanley said this week.

Elsewhere, Cups chaser Bering Sea has trekked south from his Townsville base to run in Saturday’s $125,000 Toowoomba Cup over 2000 metres.

The Chris Attard-trained Pierro gelding, which has a swag of Rockhampton and Townsville owners, has meandered north since unplaced in the Rockhampton Cup on July 10.

Two weeks after, Bering Sea ran fourth in the Mackay Cup (2000m) before second in the Townsville Cup (2000m) a fortnight later.

Three weeks after that he finished 10th in the Cairns Cup (2100m) before a strong two-and-a-half length fifth in the Cairns Amateurs Cup (2100m) on September 11.

Brisbane’s Steph Thornton rides Bering Sea in his southern conquest at Toowoomba but similar to three of his other Cup attempts, Bering Sea has drawn widely at gate 13.

Rocky trainer Jared Wehlow, another not afraid of a long road trip with his horses, will be hoping the Toowoomba chill can be offset by a hot run from stable-bearer Avocado Sunset in a lesser race at Clifford Park on Saturday.