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Cluden Park
Sarah’s Babies Ready for Pallarenda Debut

Sarah’s Babies Ready for Pallarenda Debut

21st October 2021 | By Tony Wode

Training newcomer Sarah Acornley is already making her mark in Townsville, but nothing so far will compare to a win in the time honoured Pallarenda Stakes at Cluden Park tomorrow.

Acornley is going into the big day with quiet optimism with runners in both the colts and gelding and fillies divisions of the Pallarenda, the first two-year-old races of the Northern season.

She’s leaning towards Mission Estate as her best hope against the boys and expects fillies Huski Rose and Rock The Box to acquit themselves well.

“I expect them to do well. They’re well educated and learning all the time but it’s hard to get too confident with them going to the races for the first time,” Acornley said.

“Mission Estate ran second in his trial and has come on from that and he has a good gate. The fillies both trialled nicely and I expect Rock The Box to go forward and Huski Rose to probably get back a bit and hopefully run on.”

Acornley came from a non -racing background growing up in South Africa but knew at an early age her life would revolve around horses.

Married to leading jockey Carl Spry, Acornley fell in love with horses after a friend gave her a riding lesson when she was seven.

From that moment horses have been her passion.

She attended the renowned Racing and Equestrian Academy in South Africa, and completed a degree in equine science in England and USA before coming to Australia.

While working in Victoria in the racing and breeding industry, Acornley met Spry and they’ve proved a formidable combination ever since.

The couple moved to Townsville with their three children at the beginning of last year after a successful stint in the Northern Territory.

Spry was initially training but Acornley took over official duties this season to allow her husband to return to full time race riding.

The young trainer, who also works as a veterinary nurse, has trained two TAB winners at Cluden – Inhistime and Cokum Gift  -  since taking out her licence in late June.

Like other stables with Pallarenda runners, the Acornley-Spry operation will be approaching tomorrow with great anticipation with their ‘babies’.

Acornley said the stable had changed their focus to young horses rather than tried horses because of the rich QTIS scheme.

“We’re going with young horses to chase the QTIS money. We had tried horses in the Northern Territory and it worked for us there but to get good performed horses for here you have to pay quite a bit of money,” Acornley said.

The stable will also saddle up Choir Boy and In His Time in the Mater Emergency Dept 3yo Hcp (1300m).

Acornley said Choir Boy was capable of turning around two indifferent recent runs.

“We’ve played a round with a few things with him. He fired up too much with the blinkers on for the first time last start. They come off and the distance should also suit him better.”

The six-event Pallarenda Stakes day kicks off with the Jaysel Electrical Cl1 Hcp (1000m) at 1.57pm.

Pictured: Rising young trainer Sarah Acornley (right) all smiles with stable apprentice Jenna Edwards and race jockey Wanderon D’Avila after Inhistime’s win at Cluden Park last month. 

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