Kavanagh Jnr targets Keith Nolan Classic glory


He carries the surname of one of Australian racing’s most recognisable trainers, but Sam Kavanagh insists it didn’t come with a hand-me-down client base.

‘‘Everyone is under the impression I went out on my own with a heap of owners because of who my father is, but that really isn’t the case,’’ Kavanagh said. ‘‘It hasn’t been easy, financially it’s been really tough, but from the outside looking in we’ve had a bit of success.’’

Jockey Jason Collett and trainer Sam Kavanagh celebrate winning the Canberra Guineas.

Jockey Jason Collett and trainer Sam Kavanagh celebrate winning the Canberra Guineas.

Kavanagh is referring to the quantum leap from heading up his father’s satellite stable in Adelaide to branching out on his own against some of international racing’s heaviest hitters.

On the day he was granted a trainer’s licence he penned a letter to the Australian Turf Club board outlining his intention to secure boxes in Sydney. It had always been his plan.

That gamble may just pay its biggest dividend via a beautifully bred $145,000 yearling he thought was ‘‘slipping through the cracks’’ at the Easter sales a couple of years ago.

And there wasn’t an owner by his side at the time.

‘‘I grabbed everyone I could as I’m just a small stable getting going,’’ Kavanagh said ahead of Interspersed’s tilt at the  Illawarra Mercury  Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on Sunday.

‘‘She was a filly that was a little revvy and she had a few idiosyncrasies at the sales. We thought realistically if everything was perfect she was an expensive filly that was slipping through the cracks at the end of the sale. We had a little go at her and we ended up with her.

‘‘It’s a massive group [who own her now], but they all enjoy racing together.’’

Interspersed’s Canberra Guineas success was Kavanagh’s sixth black type win in his own right, still a far cry from his father’s history with wonder mare Atlantic Jewel, Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, Maldivian and Whobegotyou.

But a first chance to call himself a Group-winning trainer may never be closer than at Kembla with Interspersed, which will be met with plenty  support in the $200,000 Sensational Sunday feature.

Interspersed is being nursed along the traditional Australian Oaks path of the Keith Nolan and Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and Kavanagh is in doubt about her credentials at the top level.

‘‘She continues to improve and she’s got a Group 1 pedigree,’’ he said. ‘‘She’s been racing the colts all her life and this is the first time back against all the fillies, albeit a very tough line-up of fillies, but we’re very excited.

‘‘This is the time of year whether these types of fillies either plateau or they keep improving and improving. 

‘‘I’m really hoping she’s the type of filly that can take the next step in the carnival.’’

The Keith Nolan Classic field will be declared on Thursday.


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