Singleton’s strong hand at home at Scone

Scott Singleton (right), pictured here with Quayde Krogh, boasts a strong hand at Scone on Friday. Photo: Racing Photography.

Trainer Scott Singleton has strengthened his hand at Scone tomorrow by opting to keep two of his team for the Showcase meeting rather than take them to his former stomping ground at Hawkesbury today.

Singleton withdrew What A Peach and Holy Empress from separate assignments to focus on the F&M Maiden Handicap (1300m) and Benchmark 58 Handicap (1600m) respectively.

Billy Cray will ride lightly raced filly What A Peach, and 1.5kg claimer Casey Waddell takes the Holy Empress mount.

“I thought long and hard about where to run both horses, but decided to stay at home,” Singleton said this morning.

“Being a Showcase meeting, there isn’t much difference in the prizemoney and we don’t have to travel.”

What A Peach, a three-year-old daughter of Your Song, fetched only $1750 as a weanling in 2019, and has impressed at both her starts.

“A group of guys rang out of the blue and asked me to train her,” Singleton said.

“They didn’t rush her, and sent her to me after she had been broken in.

“This is only her second preparation; we almost got to the trials with her the first time in work.

“What A Peach is a lovely filly, and I’m sure she will win races.

“It looks a competitive race tomorrow, but she is better drawn than she was at Hawkesbury and I expect her to be in the finish.”

What A Peach, placed on debut on her home track in late September, drops back to country grade after an excellent second to Adios in a Provincial & Country Maiden Plate (1100m) at Gosford on October 7.

Holy Empress hasn’t drawn as well as her younger stablemate, but Singleton is pleased with her progress and looking forward to starting her in the 1600m Benchmark 58.

“She ran second in the Spring Cup (1900m) at Armidale the same day What A Peach raced at Gosford,” Singleton said.

“That was only her second run since a break, and has come on nicely since then.”

Whilst Singleton is buoyant about What A Peach’s future, he does not regard her as his only good chance at tomorrow’s meeting.

His other representatives are I’m Not Slew and current third reserve Shikanic (CG&E Maiden Handicap, 1300m), and Mr Cruise, Lady River and fourth reserve Stellar Bay (Class 2 Plate, 1100m).

“I’m Not Slew and Lady River also have good prospects,” Singleton said.

“I’m Not Slew made her debut at the same Gosford meeting when What A Peach ran, and did well to finish second (beaten less than a length) to Illustrating Law in a 1000m Maiden.

“She has drawn nicely in a big field, and should be very competitive.

“The same with Lady River, who is a handy mare ready to begin a new campaign.

“Her two wins (from six starts) have both been at Scone, and she ran really well in two Highways in Sydney in July, finishing third and fourth at Rosehill and Randwick respectively.”

Rachael Murray partners both I’m No Slew and Lady River.

Singleton and his wife Lucy and children shifted camp from Hawkesbury to Scone nearly two years ago, and isn’t regretting the move for a moment.

He trained 26 winners in his first full season (2020-21) from his new base, and has already tallied eight winners since the current season began in August.

Yet Singleton was nearly lost to New South Wales racing.

“I had been thinking about a move to the country for a while, and actually went to Victoria to look at a property at Ballarat,” he explained.

“The sale fell through and subsequently I had lunch with former Hawkesbury trainer Bernie Kelly, who had stabled his 2019 Provincial Championships Final winner Bobbing with me pending completion of his move to Scone.

“He suggested I should go and have a look around Scone, and we were able to buy a property on the banks of the Hunter River and obtain stables at the track.”

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