The Last Word


Former champion jockey and Hall of Famer Ron Quinton has resisted the temptation to take on Metropolitan company with his brilliant mare Hibiscus Lady and the speedster will run at Newcastle on Saturday.

The four-year-old has won three of her five starts and she will be a short-priced favourite in the opening event a 900 metre Benchmark 70 Handicap at Newcastle.

Hibiscus Lady is blessed with blistering speed and she led all the way to the win first up at Gosford on July 27.

The mare had a tendency to hang on the tight track at Gosford and she will be much more comfortable on the roomy Newcastle track.

Hibiscus Lady won a Newcastle Class 1 by more than three lengths in March. Newcastle apprentice Louise Day had her first ride on the mare at Gosford and she retains the mount.

Day told Quinton on dismounting at Gosford that Hibiscus Lady would have won by a much bigger margin if she didn’t hang.

Quinton purchased this mare at the 2017 Winter Magic Millions Yearling Sale. Hibiscus Lady has a group of owners including Quinton’s son Trent and his wife Julie. The latter’s mother Gwen Frecker is also a part owner.

Ron Quinton’s wife Margaret passed away in 2017 and the New Zealand connection in the ownership planted an Hibiscus plant in memory of Margaret, hence the mares name Hibiscus Lady. Quinton discussed this promising sprinters prospects with yours truly on Thursday.

“The mare is in good order and will be hard to beat. I could have gone to a mid-week race in town but the prizemoney difference between the Newcastle race and a that race are not great. There are only six runners at Newcastle, and it is a very winnable race.

Hibiscus Lady is very quick and talented however she has a tendency to hang during her races. I have worked her in cheekers since Gosford and she appeared comfortable so she will race with checkers on Saturday.

The mare also drifts off the track into the home straight, but it doesn’t stop her momentum. Louise Day handled her well at Gosford and her three-kilogram claim brings Hibiscus Lady in very well at the weights.” Quinton said.

Kris Lees has accepted with seven of his team, Silver Melody (R1), Vive Marie, Black And Tan and Sunreel (R2), Alberts No Pussy and Great Danger (R3) and Just Cosmos (R4) are the Lees Racing representatives.

Black And Tan has sound credentials for the 1300 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap. Four starts back the mare stormed home from near last to win at Scone. She was placed on the Kensington track and at Warwick Farm in June and July before going down by a length at Canterbury last start.

Great Danger had no luck when a beaten odds on favourite at Wyong first up recently and expect a forward showing in the 1300 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap.

Great Danger was narrowly beaten by Silent Explorer at Canterbury in February and that run was good enough to win this race.

The Hunter Stayers Cup (2950m) is an interesting race.

The Freedman stable train the top weights Kellstorm and Hotel Amour and both have undeniable prospects. Kellstorm has been racing okay in much tougher Metropolitan company and Louise Day will claim 3 kilograms.

Hotel Amour has won three on the trot and looks like he will run the marathon trip.

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