Husband and wife set to square off in Alice Springs

The Gilletts – trainer Terry, apprentice jockey Dakota and trainer Leanne – have been a significant part of the racing family in Alice Springs for many years.

Alice Springs trainers Terry and Leanne Gillett, who are also husband and wife, face an interesting dilemma at Pioneer Park on Saturday.

The Gilletts dominate the feature race – an open $24,500 handicap over 1200m – with Terry having four runners and Leanne having one runner in the five-horse event.

Terry, the champion Alice Springs and Provincial trainer for the 2020/21 season, will saddle up Supreme Attraction, Great Buy, Supreme Times and Mel’s Legacy.

Leanne, a former Alice Springs Cup winning trainer with Ash Grey in 2018, will be relying on Esashi to pull off an upset.

Supreme Attraction, who won the $100,000 Pioneer Sprint (1200m) during the Alice Springs Cup Carnival in April as a +2500 hope, was the early +160 favourite, but he will have his hands full on Saturday as Great Buy (+200) and Supreme Times (+250) are good enough to claim victory.

In all seriousness, Esashi (+500) and Mel’s Legacy (+1400) will have to produce something spectacular to overcome the three leading contenders.

Supreme Attraction, an eight-year-old gelding by Supreme Class, won another four races following his Pioneer Sprint triumph before heading to Darwin where he finished sixth in the $135,000 Palmerston Sprint (1200m) at Fannie Bay on August 5.

Great Buy, a seven-year-old gelding by Helmet, arrived in the Alice from NSW earlier this year and was placed twice in five starts before getting a win over 1100m (BM76) on October 1 and finishing second behind Supreme Times in open company over 1100m on October 22.

He was ninth in the Pioneer Sprint.

Supreme Times, an eight-year-old gelding by Supreme Class, was fourth in the Pioneer Sprint and wasn’t all that far away in his next three starts before saluting over 1200m (BM68) in mid-July.

He returned on October 1 and finished fourth behind Great Buy before turning the tables on his stablemate three weeks later.

Supreme Attraction, Great Buy and Supreme Times boasted respectable records in NSW before continuing their careers in the NT.

Nyngan-based Rodney Robb trained Supreme Attraction and Supreme Times, while his son Brett – who calls Dubbo home – trained Great Buy.

With a 3kg claim, Supreme Attraction (59.5kg) will be ridden by ever-improving apprentice Lek Maloney and will jump from the outside gate.

Great Buy (55.5kg) will have the services of leading Darwin jockey Sonja Logan, the champion jockey in the Alice Springs and Provincial premiership last season, who landed a winning treble at Pioneer Park last weekend.

Stan Tsaikos, who preceded Logan as the top jockey in the Red Centre, will partner Supreme Times (57kg) on Saturday after riding Supreme Attraction to victory in the Pioneer Sprint.

Esashi, a five-year-old mare by Kuroshio, who won three straight over 1000m in January (BM54), February (0-64) and March (BM73), finished well adrift of Excuses Excuses in third place over 1000m (0-64) last Saturday.

The return of in-form Top End jockey Adam Nicholls, who shares the premiership lead with the Gillett’s daughter Dakota with five wins, from a back injury will enhance the hopes of Esashi (55kg), who should finish in the top four.

Even though apprentice Ianish Luximon can claim 2kg, Mel’s Legacy (53kg), a four-year-old gelding by Rubick, will find it tough going having had just four starts with her best effort a fourth against the three-year-olds over 1100m (BM66) in April.

The Gilletts will go head to head in a 1200m maiden to kick off the five-event program with Terry’s Macer’s Razor (Tsaikos) and Leanne’s Li’lmissprancealot (Nicholls) both finishing third at their previous start.

Macer’s Razor, who was placed in two maidens in April and May, finished seventh in just his third start in a 1000m maiden in September before a last start third in open company on October 22 behind Supreme Times and Great Buy.

Li’lmissprancealot, second in an 1100m Gawler maiden in her first start for Adelaide trainers Richard and Chantelle Jolly in November last year, flashed home to finish a narrow third behind Greg Connor’s stablemates Quanapirri Bay and Black Shiraz in last weekend’s 1100m maiden.

The only other Gillett runner on Saturday is Terry’s Tintern Power (Tsaikos) against 0-64 opposition over 1400m in what shapes as the most intriguing race on the program.

Tintern Power, once trained by Rodney Robb, has had four starts in the Alice for a first up second over 1100m (BM76) behind Great Buy on October 1 before a last-start second behind the in-form Nicotera over 1400m (0-58) last Saturday.

He’s not without a chance, but the likes of Nicotera, Flying Yishu, Quick Return, Strike Eagle, Zoutellus and Sweet As Scandi are all capable of getting the cash.

With three wins this season, Leanne currently rules the roast in the Gillett household as Terry has tasted success on just two occasions.

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