Ballantyne Racing Presence Grows

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Fremantle Dockers forward Hayden Ballantyne will get his first taste of thoroughbred horse training on Monday, when he saddles up Starza Lola at the Lark Hill trials.

Ballantyne was given Starza Lola by his father Graeme, who is also a well-established trainer.

Graeme Ballantyne said he was pleased he was able to help his son work his way into racing.

“It’s pretty good for him,” he told The Races WA.

“Starza Lola is no star and I’m sure, like all trainers starting out, he would like to start with a horse like Winx.

“It’s one of his friend’s horses though and he has to start somewhere.”

Graeme said football remained the number one priority for his son going into 2019 and he was yet to indicate if training was a career he would pursue post-football.

The 31-year-old will be joined at Lark Hill by a number of the state’s equine stars on Monday, with Achernar Star, Variation, State Prosecutor and Perth Cup winner Star Exhibit all named to trial.

In the short-term Graeme has his eyes fixed on Saturday’s Better Your Bet With TABtouch Maiden (1500m) at Pinjarra, where he will saddle up Our Girl Marli.

Our Girl Marli has been placed at her only two starts back this campaign, highlighted by her last start second over 1412m to Acermetric.

William Pike takes the ride on the mare on Saturday and Ballantyne said he was confident she was ready to win.

“She should go close,” he said.

“The 1500m will suit and I think she can settle close to them from barrier one.

“Pikey on as well is a big plus because he can win on a broomstick at the moment.

“She hasn’t got a great deal of ability, but it would be great if she could pick up a maiden like this.”

Graeme confirmed his stable star Dark Musket was back in work ahead of an autumn campaign.

A third placing in the Listed Ascot Gold Cup was the highlight of Dark Musket’s spring campaign, which ended in last month’s Perth Cup.

Dark Musket’s autumn campaign will be aimed at the WA Cup (3200m) on Easter Saturday April 20.

Elsewhere, trainer Justin Warwick said Material Man was still getting adjusted to his new surroundings in Victoria, ahead of his first-up run in Saturday’s Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).

“He travelled over alright,” he told TABradio.

“He’s eating and drinking but he’s probably more alert than I’d like him to be.

“The horse is very fit and all the hard work is done.”

Material Man has been well supported into $15 for the $400,000, after he opened a $31 chance.

Kementari heads up the TABtouch market at $3.40, ahead of Land Of Plenty ($5.50) and Whispering Brook ($6.50).

Meanwhile, jockey Joseph Azzopardi has been granted a three-month visiting jockey’s licence to ride at the Singapore Turf Club.

Tim Walker
www.rwwa.com.au

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