Hammersley happy with Kembla double

HORSE RACING

Jockey Paul Hammersley was able to enjoy plenty of festive cheer after booting home a double at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

Following his impressive Christmas haul, the former Queensland Group 1-winning jockey is in no rush to flee the provincial circuit for the bright lights of Sydney.

"I'm pretty comfortable here to be honest," Hammersley said after nursing Commandette and Agadir to victory. "There's a good bunch of guys [riding on the provincials] and I've got a good clientele base at the moment and good support from them.

"With the way things are ticking over at the moment, if I can keep doing that for a few more years to come I'll be quite happy."

Hammersley's clients certainly wouldn't have been complaining with a couple of astute rides in Kembla's last meeting for the calendar year.

He started off the program with a peach of an effort on Gwenda Markwell's Commandette ($8) in the Benchmark 60 Handicap (2000m), rushing past tiring stablemate Steerage ($4.60) and holding off a late challenge from Abraham Lincoln ($6.50).

"Gwenda walked out there and said it wouldn't surprise her if either of them won," Hammersley said after firing Kembla's leading lady to a premiership lead at the flip of the calendar. "I thought I'd be a top-two chance.

"We were one of the few horses that had an uninterrupted run into the race and in the end she was too good."

But it was the effort of Darley's second-starter Agadir ($2.05f) which really impressed Hammersley, after Muswellbrook's Starmaker winner walloped his rivals first-up in the Class 1 Handicap (1300m).

The three-year-old colt remained unbeaten in two career starts to date.

"He's just a lovely animal. He's still pretty raw at the moment and he's still learning, but when the penny really drops for him he's going to be a really nice horse," he said. "I asked very little of him at the end and he did that all on his own. It was just class."

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