Sweet Dolly on the way back – Article by Tony McMahon

Published 21 February 2022

Sweet Dolly on the way back – Article by Tony McMahon

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The jockey (Justin Stanley) and the horse (Sweet Dolly) both pulled up well and naturally the trainer (Kevin Hansen) and the owner (Michelle Walker) were elated as well.

It’s akin to the old racing jingle from the fifties and sixties about the famed Randwick trackman Clarence the Clocker (Arthur Davies, 1912-1984).

It went like this “the owner told Clarence the Clocker and the clocker told jockey McGee and the jockey of course passed it on to the horse and the horse told me”.

So, it was a case of smiles all round after comeback filly Sweet Dolly and her jockey Justin Stanley both passed their litmus test at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park barriers trials on Monday (Feb 21).

Sweet Dolly was never pushed out (ridden out) when a nose second to brilliant speedster Aspen Lad (Natalie Summers) in a heat over 900 metres run fleetingly in 54.47 seconds.

Stanley, sidelined for the past fortnight after sustaining a shoulder injury at a recent Rockhampton meeting was delighted with the outcome.

“She felt good and so did I”, he chuffed.

Stanley flew in from Brisbane specifically to test himself and the Real Saga filly for her crucial resumption from a year enforced break in next Saturday’s 3YO Jewel Qualifier (1200m) at Mackay.

Purchased at a pauper’s price for $1500 as a weanling, Sweet Dolly is unbeaten in four starts earning $477,750 thereby endearing herself as the Princess of Queensland’s 2YO’s last season.

Huge offers were rejected by connections for Sweet Dolly before and after she last appeared when triumphant in the $500K Jewel 2YO Plate (1200m) at the Gold Coast on March 13 last year.

In the aftermath of that glorious victory, a suspensory ligament injury occurred which required delicate surgery for a small hole around a sesamoid.

Trainer Hansen devoted months of personal care to the filly and followed a regimented rehabilitation program orchestrated by specialist veterinary surgeons.

Little wonder Kevin and Sweet Dolly’s constant companion and track work rider, son Kris Hansen, were so relieved and thrilled after her trial.

“She seems to have come through the trial really well. We didn’t want her ridden out coming into Saturday’s race so quickly. I naturally went for the Mackay set weight race (55kg) for her return rather than take her to Brisbane and get the grandstand and have a gut buster.

All going well she will be off to the 3YO Jewel ($500K -1200m) at the Gold Coast on March 19”, Kevin Hansen said.

Jockey Stanley believes Sweet Dolly will improve noticeably from her hit out.

“It was more just to get the feel of her and how she was going. She felt great and I was very happy. You have to remember this was her first real test after such a long layoff – couldn’t be happier”, he said.

Michelle Walker was elated ‘’I was very pleased. Justin just let her do her own thing and she did it all by herself. It’s exciting and hopefully we will be back at the Gold Coast in March and then onto the sales (Magic Millions March Yearling Sales)”.

The Mackay Turf Club has received 14 entries for Sweet Dolly’s Jewel Qualifier on Saturday.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club presents an eight race TAB card at Callaghan Park on Friday.

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