Racing: Sellwood weighs up future

When Cambridge horseman unsaddles Petty Cury on Saturday it may be his swansong.

Handy mare Petty Cury will appreciate the drop in class at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Handy mare Petty Cury will appreciate the drop in class at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

Don Sellwood's Queensland campaign with Petty Cury will come to a close on Saturday when the mare makes an unscheduled final appearance at the Sunshine Coast.

There is also the possibility that it could bring down the curtain on the successful Cambridge horseman's training career.

Sellwood has been contemplating retirement during the Australian trip, but has yet to make a final decision on his future.

"I'll wait until I get home and then see what happens," he said. "I haven't decided anything yet and haven't done anything about my licence for next season, but that can be dealt with very quickly. I'm coming up 70 next year and she [Petty Cury] will go home and have a break and whether I hang around and wait for her I really don't know."

The group one-winning trainer of former star performers, such as Drum, Count Chivas, Imananabaa and Anabandana, Sellwood said he hadn't intended to start Petty Cury in Saturday's 1300m fillies' and mares' hcp.

"I can't get her home until next Wednesday so I popped her in. It's a lowly-graded race and four or five tiers below what she has been in so if she can pick up a bit of money that would be great. She's got a bit more weight [59kg], but we'll get a couple of kilos off and there's no reason not to give her a run."

The Not A Single Doubt mare worked well yesterday, with race rider Kirk Mattheson in the saddle.

Petty Cury's Queensland campaign started on an encouraging note when she ran fourth in the listed Silk Stocking on the Gold Coast. She was then unplaced in the Glenlogan Park Stakes at Doomben and in the Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm.

"She hasn't had a great deal of luck and whether it was a bit too soon for her I'm not sure, but it won't hurt her for the future," Sellwood said.

•Ralph Manning will saddle three good prospects at Stratford today and rated his lightly-raced 3-year-old Alphabet Street as his best hope.

"He's probably our best chance - he's quite a handy horse," the Cambridge trainer said.

Alphabet Street's appearance in the Rating 65 Central Tyres & Automotive 1600 will be his fourth start this campaign, which kicked off with a maiden victory and was then a close-up seventh at Hawera over a metric mile.

At his last outing, he found the line strongly for third at Te Rapa and Manning said the gelding, who will be ridden by Hayden Tinsley, had progressed well since.

Alphabet Street will be accompanied south by the former Ryder Stakes winner Snow Excuse, another Tinsley ride, and Ocean Bound, who will be partnered by Kelly Myers.

Snow Excuse has been plagued by soundness issues since his black type success as a juvenile, but Manning has been encouraged by the 4-year-old's two recent minor placings.

"He's a big horse and improved with each run after a long time off," he said. "He's got major joint issues so we gave him a long break to decide if we would even run him again."

Snow Excuse will chase an overdue win in the Rating 75 GJS NZ Ltd Handicap, while Ocean Bound will appreciate the step up to a middle distance in the Rating 85 Field Torque Taranaki 2000. Both of his career wins have come over ground.

"A better track will help him and he didn't get any luck at all at Te Rapa," Manning said. "He got chewed up in the straight and Rory Hutchings thought he would have been hard to beat."

•While five-time group one winner Ocean Park is settling into life at Waikato Stud, ahead of the forthcoming breeding season, his year younger half-sister Lady Sayyida looks to have inherited her share of the family ability, breaking maiden ranks in impressive style at Te Teko over 1400m yesterday.

Prepared by Cambridge trainer Roger James, the 3-year-old daughter of Iffraaj settled at the rear and covered ground, before powering past her rivals on the slow track.

"You've got to be impressed, really," an enthusiastic James said. "She was last, not doing a lot and came around every horse and I didn't think she was that happy in the ground, either. She put in some big strides late."

James knows the pedigree inside out, having trained her dam Sayyida. Lady Sayyida was having her second start, after placing in a maiden in September last year.

- NZ Racing Desk.

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