Testator Silens takes out the Nowra Country Championships heat

Testator Silens (Jean Van Overmeire, purple & white check cap) trained by Luke Clarke wins at Randwick on February 5, 2022 – photo by Martin King/Sportpix copyright

After missing out on hosting in the past two years, Nowra were finally rewarded with the second heat of the NSW Country Championships on Sunday afternoon for the South-East region, which saw Testator Silens prevail in a nail-biter.

Last year’s Country Championship Final winner, Art Cadeau, came from the same region, so Luke Currie will be hoping that his four-year-old can follow in that galloper’s footsteps in April.

A capacity field of 14 thoroughbreds took part in the 1400m event, which saw Arnaqueur start a heavily-backed $2.60 favourite with Sportsbet under Tommy Berry, who had already ridden two winners at the meeting.

After leading, Blue Missile ran an extremely game race and gave his rivals something to catch, but Testator Silens and To The Nines were able to run the leader down in the last stride, qualifying for the $500,000 final on April 9 at Royal Randwick.

Testator Silens has built an impressive record in just six career starts, having won five of those including two Highway races in Sydney.

“I knew he’d put in – that’s what he is, he always puts in – I’m shaking, it’s great,” the winning trainer told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

“He’s tough and arrogant, it’s not that he’s mad, he just wants to get on with the job. He loves doing it. He’s big and strong – that’s why he’s good I think.”

The four-year-old gelding started a $6 favourite with the online bookmakers, and despite drawing barrier 13, the son of Star Witness was given a peach of a ride by Jean Van Overmeire.

The winning rider was able to get the gelding into a terrific spot from the wide barrier, before producing the now five-times winner to the centre of the track to set out after the leader.

Testator Silens did enough to secure the victory by a half-head, with the Tash Burleigh-trained To The Nines running a bold race in second.

To The Nines will be looking to give Burleigh her first Country Championship Final winner, after Al Mah Haha finished second in 2020.

Neds.com.au currently has Testator Silens as now the joint $8 second favourite for the final at The Championships held at Royal Randwick throughout April, while To The Nines is a $51 chance.

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