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Survivor Kenyluck prepares for fresh tilt at Batavia Sprint after thriving at city races

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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Allan Hughes with Kenyluck.
Camera IconAllan Hughes with Kenyluck. Credit: Reuben Carder/Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton’s horse of the year will be back in action next Sunday for one of the biggest meets of the Mid West race calendar.

Kenyluck, trained by Allan Hughes, is set to run in the $100,000 Batavia Sprint, and after recent runs at Ascot he just might make a mark.

“He’s getting ready for it now,” Hughes said.

“He’s put in two massive runs in Perth.

“He got beat a nose by a real good horse and then he drew wide (in the second race).

“I gave him a little break after the last one.

“He didn’t disgrace himself.”

Four-year-old Written Matter beat Kenyluck to the line by a nose at Ascot on December 4.

He then missed out on third by a similar margin on December 18.

At last year’s sprint, Kenyluck finished last after a stirrup broke.

But Hughes said Kenyluck was used to adversity.

He said a scar on six-year-old Kenyluck’s neck was where a cancer had been cut out as a three-year-old, while a tumor remained closer to the shoulder and had to be treated.

“We have to monitor and do tests for white cells,” he said.

“So far so good. It hasn’t come back, he’s been clear for three years.”

Hughes said Kenyluck’s winnings, from 11 firsts in the three years Hughes had had him in work, had allowed him to concrete the floor in the stables.

Let out into a yard, Kenyluck frolics near his “girlfriend” — a chestnut mare — and rolls and kicks up the dust while the stable “mascot”, a 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Patrick, watches on.

Hughes’s partner, Ros White, said Kenyluck was part of a team, travelling to Perth with a companion, a Friesian pleasure horse she owned named Chaddy to avoid stress on the journey.

“He’s (Chaddy) definitely not a racehorse,” White said.

“When we’re at the track, he attracts more attention than Kenyluck.”

Hughes said Kenyluck got plenty of looks himself.

“People love a grey,” he said.

A table inside the house is stacked with Kenyluck’s trophies while pictures of his wins, and wins by other horses the pair have had, stretched across a wall.

Still, Hughes said he knew who the big players in town were.

“We used to always say ‘go and talk to (local trainer Gordon) Spowart,” he said.

“He’s the leading trainer.”

Spowart has had a slow start to the season, along with fellow senior trainer Graeme Hammarquist, based at Walkaway, but local trainers know neither can be ruled out.

Kenyluck was awarded Horse of the Year at last year’s Batavia Sprint.

Six-year-old My Demi won the sprint last year for Serpentine-based Kiwi Brock Lewthwaite.

WA apprentice of the year Laqdar Ramoly, from Mauritius, was aboard.

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