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Red-hot Pearce out to continue strong season in Albany

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Jockey Peter Hall and trainer Ben Pearce will link-up in Albany this afternoon.
Camera IconJockey Peter Hall and trainer Ben Pearce will link-up in Albany this afternoon. Credit: Mary Meagher

In-form Karnup trainer Ben Pearce is hoping to continue his successful season with three strong chances in this afternoon’s seven-race card at Percy Spencer Racecourse in Albany.

Pearce, with a team of more than 50 horses in work, has notched 20 winners already this season, including five last month, and will start Larvotto, Dellavedova and Rosewood Hill today as he aims to extend that tally.

Having already tasted success in the Great Southern this season, with Rhino’s Lad winning at Mt Barker on December 15, Pearce had four runners nominated today but has since scratched Hashtag, leaving three runners to compete at the Albany Racing Club meet.

“They are all sort of there for a reason, to get them in the right races,” Pearce said.

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“All look to be chances hopefully.

“Rosewood Hill was a good run first-up, she’s had a few issues but she has won a Saturday race as a three-year-old and is lightly-raced.

“She got back and hit the line good so she looks well placed and the maidens are not overly strong races either.”

Joseph Azzopardi will take the ride on Rosewood Hill, which looks ideally suited from barrier five with 57kg in the Waratah Handicap (1600m) after finishing 3¾ lengths behind Awesome As first-up.

Azzopardi will also link up with Pearce in the Allflex Maiden (1500m) with three-year-old Larvotto, who finished seventh on debut in Narrogin, while Peter Hall takes the mount on Dellavedova in the Trutest Maiden (1230m).

The Pearce stable has expanded since Ben’s brother Dan was disqualified for six months on November 28 and is looking forward to a successful few months ahead.

“It’s all going well — it was a big transition,” Pearce said.

“It took a bit of time to get everything going the way we wanted.

“We have 50-55 in work and they are all ticking over nicely, particularly heading towards the big races like the Karrakatta (Plate).” Meanwhile, two local gallopers will contest Sunday’s $70,000 Esperance Cup (2000m), with Albany trainer Liam O’Loughlin starting Elite Flight and Mt Barker’s Dave Hopperton saddling up Sassenach.

Elite Flight will be ridden by Danny Miller and jumps from gate 19, while Sassenach has drawn barrier 7 and has Lisa Staples aboard, and Albany hoop Mitchell Pateman will ride Ultimate Success in the staying feature.

Jockey Ben Kennedy copped an 18-month suspension on Tuesday after testing positive to banned substances amphetamine and methamphetamine at Mt Barker’s Grapes and Gallops meeting on January 22.

Last Friday, Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of providing a positive urine sample that contained the banned substances in an inquiry conducted by Racing and Wagering WA stewards.

Stewards adjourned the inquiry to consider the penalty, and this week suspended Kennedy’s jockey licence in full for 18 months, backdated to February 14, when he was initially stood down.

Stewards took into account, when coming to the penalty, the seriousness of the offence, Kennedy’s prior offence under the same rule in 2011 when he copped a nine-month ban, the nature of the substances, his guilty plea, and personal circumstances.

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