Expensive Galloper to make debut for new stable (Kembla, Saturday)

Group 1-winning jockey Jay Ford believes Vindication ($8 on TAB) is well placed to make a dream debut for new trainer Jean Dubois at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

Jockey JAY FORD.
Jockey JAY FORD. Picture: Steve Hart

Formerly a $320,000 yearling purchase that started his career with John, Wayne and Michael Hawkes, Vindication will begin the next phase of his career for Dubois in the Smurphy's Big Bucks Weekend Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m).

The son of Deep Field only had four starts for his past conditioners and was last seen lining up in the Listed Heritage Stakes in September, where he failed to beat a runner home.

He will enjoy a substantial drop in grade in his return this weekend and has won a lead-up trial at Kembla in preparation for his first-up run.

"He has won in town before and is resuming in a benchmark 64 on a Saturday, so you would think he is placed to run pretty well," Jay Ford said.

"He has drawn a bit sticky but has trialled well and on paper looks like a good ride.

"It looks to me like he has a bit of quality and the Kembla Grange track will be a great place to kick him off for sure."

Vindication has drawn in barrier 10 for his return. Ford will also partner four-year-old mare Lucilight ($12) for Dubois in the Supernova Financial Class 1 Handicap (1400m) and considers the ex-Waller galloper among his best rides on the card.

He is also excited to partner the promising Kouklara ($3.60 favourite) for trainer Joseph Pride as she chases a breakthrough win in the Dapto Maiden Handicap (1200m).

"I think Joe Pride's Kouklara should run well in the maiden. She's a consistent horse and will get over further," Ford said. "You'd expect him to be closing off pretty strong late.

"Jean's other horse should run well too. She's an ex-Waller horse that always threatened to win a few and always runs good races."

Ford also rides Colonist ($71) for Jason Coyle in the opener on the card while he pilots the Gary Moore-trained Princess Zeddy ($51) in race seven.

Meanwhile, Illawarra Turf Club received some substantial news on Thursday with the club's Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic day set to get that little bit bigger in 2022.

Changes to the expanded Provincial-Midway Championships has seen the club's $150,000 heat of the series transferred to the same day as the marquee day for fillies, creating a blockbuster meeting on Friday March 11.

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