Hawkesbury previews: Keagan Latham keen to keep momentum going on breakout season

Keagan Latham returns to the scene of his first Sydney Saturday metropolitan winner on Tuesday eager to keep the ball rolling on a season that has been career defining for the South African rider.

Latham has ridden all over the world; England, Ireland, France, Hong Kong, South Africa of course and has Group 1 wins in Dubai and Mauritius.

With 88 days left in the 2020/21, Latham leads the Provincial Jockey Premiership by nine wins, 50 to 41, ahead of his closest challenger Tommy Berry.

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Keagan Latham finishes third aboard Adelong in the Listed Hawkesbury Rush last Saturday. Photo: Jenny Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Latham’s milestone win in the last at Hawkesbury’s stand-alone Saturday meeting took his statewide season tally to 80 ensuring him a top ten finishing on the broader NSW ladder standings.

Ask any trainer and they’ll tell you that Latham should be riding in the city every Saturday but for now, he is more likely to be seen at Kembla or Newcastle than Rosehill or Randwick come the weekends.

“I will just take each week as it comes, it all depends on the rides I get in the city,” Latham said.

“If (my manager and I) both think they are worth riding then that is something to consider or if I have got more chance of keeping my championships hopes alive at the provincials, then we will go to the provincials.

“There are obviously a few horses that have run well in the city recently that I want to stay on, so we’ll try and jumble the whole situation as best we can.’’

One weekend that Latham will definitely be an absentee not just from the provincials but all of New South Wales is Stradbroke Saturday to reunite with his beloved Eleven Eleven.

Gwenda Markwell has built a terrific record with Keagan Latham and they combine with Blackall at Hawkesbury on Tuesday. Photo: Simon Bullard/AAP ImageSource:AAP

Latham finished runner-up in last season’s Provincial Jockeys Premiership on 51 wins – only one more than his present total.

“If you don’t have goals in life, you’ll never reach them and so from the beginning of the year myself and my manager have been chasing this Provincial Championship as well as trying to reach a century of winners for the season. We are on target at the moment and hopefully we can reach it,’’ Latham said.

If Latham is going to get one step closer to a 100 wins this season, it could be thanks to the lightly-raced Blackall who resumes in the HRC Motel Maiden Handicap (1300m).

The son of Magic Millions sale-topper Bull Point is trained by Gwenda Markwell for whom Latham has ridden more winners for than any other trainer since his ‘Dowunder’ maiden win on Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Savapinski at Wyong in March 2017.

Latham was aboard Blackall when belied his $61 starting price when midfield in an 1100m maiden at Bathurst four days out from Christmas.

“Bathurst is not really a track where you can make up a lot of ground but he did. He was very green but he has got the blinkers on now.

“I spoke to Gwenda (at the Warwick Farm trials yesterday) and she says she is really happy with him,’’ Latham said.


Anthony Cummings is not ruling out the possibility that Hawkesbury-bound filly Markievicz could join an honour roll that boasts two Melbourne Cup winners and Winx before the season is through.

A flashy daughter of Starspangledbanner, Markievicz is bred for speed but races more like a stayer which bodes well for her prospects in Tuesday’s Blacktown Workers Club Group Maiden over 1800m.

Markievicz was beaten a total of nearly 15-lengths at her first two runs and 1100m and 1200m respectively but gave a glimpse of her actual talent when finishing fourth at Canterbury two weeks ago, this time over 1550m.

“She hit the line really well, albeit with a bit of inside bias on her side that day and she got the benefit of it early in the day, but still and all she made good ground,’’ Cummings said.

“She has come on from that and the step to 1800m looks suitable because it looks like she will run a trip.

Trainer Anthony Cummings is looking forward to testing Markievicz over a staying trip at Hawkesbury on Tuesday. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I was doing noms for the carnivals yesterday and the real prospect is that if she handles the step up in trip, there is a chance she might force her way into an Oaks field or something.’’

As well as being a Group 1 trainer, Cummings has bred several Group 1 winners either in part or full ownership.

Two which come readily to mind are the siblings, Outback Prince and Hotel Grand.

It’s a family that keeps on giving to Cummings to this very day and could easily add another winner to the tally when Lala Lala steps out for only the second time in the Pink Finns Charity Maiden Handicap (1500m).

As her name suggests, Lala Lala is by Your Song who won the Group 1 BTC Cup for Cummings and Peter Robl around this time in 2013.

“It’s taken her a bit of time to get to somewhere but I’m pleased with her and looking forward to seeing what she might do,’’ Cummings said.

“The step up in trip looks like it will suit her. She got back and ran at her only start and was strong through the line and her last gallop was a reflection of that again.’’

Originally published asHawkesbury previews: Provincial title in reach for Latham

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