At Gosford on the NSW Central Coast, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion and current leading Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a black-type success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Calanda (Snitzel- Speedy Bell, Brocco) opened his stakes account in the $150,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs +, defeating stable-mates Supreme Effort & Oxford Poet. Calanda improved his record to 6 wins (including the Inglis Sprint) and 3 placings (including the Gr3 BTC George Moore Stakes) from 16 starts for $544,450 in earnings. Jockey Blake Shinn commented: "He fought very hard over the final 100 metres. It was a good win. It's nice to win in these colours [the China Horse Club colours]," he said. Purchased by Newgate Farm in conjunction with China Horse Club, Calanda fetched $200,000 at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale from the Yarraman Park draft. He is the eighth foal to race from the Listed AJC Gimcrack Stakes winner Speedy Bell, dam also of Gr3 Adrian Knox Stakes winner Speedy Natalie and Listed Jungle Dawn Classic winner Silverstream.
Multiple stakes-winning Queensland galloper Hopfgarten (Mossman-Black Tourmaline, by O'Reilly) booked a start in the Gr2 Villiers Stakes in Sydney in the summer with a brilliant comeback win at Doomben on Saturday, reports Racing Queensland Webnews. Having first start since June, Hopfgarten defied his big weight to score a dominant 0.75 length win over Sydney visitor Supreme Effort in the Bartons Open Handicap over 1200m. "I'm glad to see him win again as he's probably my stable favourite now that Buffering has retired," Heathcote said. "That was a good win and I'm getting him ready for the Villiers Stakes in Sydney and the Bernborough Handicap again." He added: "He ran in the Villiers last year and didn't have much luck finishing fifth but he was only beaten two lengths."
Wyong will open the Provincial Championships series with the first of five qualifiers run at the Central Coast track on Thursday, 23 February. Wyong Race Club’s $150,000 qualifying race allows first, second and third placegetters to gain a berth in the $400,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) run Royal Randwick on Saturday, 8 April. WRC’s CEO, David Jewell, said: “The Club and our local trainers are looking forward to the third running of the Provincial Championships here on Thursday fortnight. The series gets bigger and better each year.” Last year’s Provincial Championships Qualifier at Wyong was a thrilling contest with the Kim Waugh-trained Supreme Effort narrowly defeating stable-mate His Majesty. Hawkesbury Race Club has its Championships Day on Thursday 2 March, with Gosford (15 March), Kembla Grange (23 March) and Newcastle (29 March) to follow.