Top trainer Gwenda Markwell heaped praise on apprentice Brock Ryan as she gave her premiership bid a huge shot in the arm with a winning treble at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.
Ryan rode two winners for his boss on her most successful day of the 2017-18 season.
He piloted Captain Manering (race two) and Alert By Sea (race four) before Keagan Latham completed Markwell’s successful day on Excelsior.
The winning treble helps Markwell put a healthy buffer on her rivals in the Kembla trainers premiership, but also keeps her on the heels of Chris Waller in the overall title race.
Waller – who had Raw Emotion salute on Tuesday – ended Markwell’s 14-year reign in the same premiership last year.
The Sydney trainer now leads Markwell by less than a win after Tuesday’s meeting, with Peter and Paul Snowden wedged between the pair.
Captain Manering got Markwell’s day off to the perfect start with a determined victory in the Albert Kelly Benchmark 67 Handicap (1600m).
Ryan had the seven-year-old poised to strike in the run and the gelding knuckled down late to hold off all challengers.
“Brock rode him a treat,” Markwell told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He had him right on speed and they didn’t go hard. He claimed two kilos and he is just one of your best apprentices around.”
Ryan was on speed again to pilot Alert By Sea to a dogged victory, with the track appearing to favour leaders.
Latham adopted the same tactics in Excelsior’s first attempt over 1300m.
The colt by Poet’s Voice showed a strong kick when put under pressure in the straight before holding off the charging Mr Plow, which rattled home to finish half-a-length back.
- AUTUMN PROSPECT
He’s already got the ATC Australian Derby favourite, but could David Payne also have a serious Australian Oaks contender in All Too Soon?
The daughter of All Too Hard showed off her potential at Kembla Grange on Wednesday with an impressive triumph against the pattern of the day.
All Too Soon came off the speed to gun down Kris Lees Unbridled Power in the final stride to salute in the Hull F.C F&M Class 1 Handicap (1400m). Payne’s stable representative Mark Whiteman confirmed to Sky Thoroughbred Central after the classy victory that the filly would plot a course towards the Oaks on day two of The Championships.
Payne already has a leading contender heading towards the autumn carnival.
Ace High – which won his maiden at Kembla Grange before winning the Victoria Derby – is the favourite to take out the Derby on day one of The Championships.