As two of her stable's Provincial Championships hopefuls took their first steps towards the carnival, Gwenda Markwell continued to produce her next generation of talent on her home turf on Saturday.
The Kembla Grange premiership leading trainer had her stable firing on all cylinders again, with Chicadilly (race two) and Chicansalade (race six) both breaking their maiden tags.
It is the third consecutive Kembla meeting that Markwell has trained at least a winning double at her home track.
The winning duo – both of which are three-year-olds – make up part of Markwell’s reinvigorated stable, which boasts a host of up-and-coming youngsters.
It comes as Markwell looks to ramp up her Provincial Championships assault, with Mandylion, Archedemus, Excelsior and Angel Of Truth set to target the qualifiers in the coming months.
Excelsior and Angel Of Truth were given an exhibition gallop on Saturday.
“They went good and we will look at heading towards the Championships at this stage,” Markwell said.
While the Provincial Championships are undoubtedly one of Markwell’s main targets, she is well on her way to achieving another at her home track.
Her double on Saturday took her tally to 18 wins for the season – ten victories clear of her nearest rivals Robert and Luke Price.
She couldn’t have done it without the help of in-form jockey Keagan Latham on the weekend.
Latham had to work hard to get the best out of Chicadilly, but filly showed determination to wear down Godolphin duo Catapult and Quenya in the Keep Dapto Great Maiden Handicap (1000m).
Chicadilly ($3.80) made her run down the outside to edge half-a-length clear of Catapult ($4.80) at the post.
“We were reasonably confident, we just thought she might have needed another run,” Markwell’s racing manager Ross McConville said.
“It was a beautiful ride. He didn’t panic on her and he just won by enough.
“She dug in and found.”
Chicansalade ($16) caused a minor shock when the gelding held off the fast-finishing Killer Instinct ($1.55) to claim the Western Earth Moving Maiden Plate (1500m).
Chris Waller’s Home Scene was third.
“He was well ridden and it was a tough win,” Markwell said.
“He ran a good race first up and is the sort of horse that tries his heart out.
“We just have to try and place him right.
“I don’t think we would try him over too much further at this stage.”
Fellow Kembla trainer Mick Tubman also enjoyed success on Saturday after Micks New Chick broke through for a well-deserved win.
The Husson mare sat outside the speed before surging to a dominant three length victory in the Take No Prisons 4YO & Up Maiden Handicap (1200m).
Joe Pride, Garry Neale, Peter Robl and Damien Lane all trained winners on the afternoon.