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Bernie Hewitt keen to make early strike ahead of 2022 TAB Queensland Constellations

Bathurst trainer Bernie Hewitt is keen to make an early impression ahead of a big 2022 TAB Queensland Constellations with two from his team in Saturday night’s Group 3 The Flashing Red.

Stable mates Make Mine Memphis and The Mustang kicked off their northern campaigns last Saturday evening over 2647 metres – both finishing back in the field.

It is set to be a big winter for the multiple Group 1-winning Hewitt stable, with impressive young colt Ripp one of the quartet of pacers who have been invited for the second edition of The Rising Sun.

The 60-year-old NSW horseman is hopeful of a strong winter campaign.

“There is probably half a dozen pretty strong ones and there is a couple of mares I will bring as well that have been going well,” he said on Thursday afternoon as he drove to the Young races.

“I am looking forward to having a strong hand in the carnival. Hopefully, everything goes well.”

Before the Group 1 The Rising Sun rolls around, the stable has other Group level hopes in Make Mine Memphis and The Mustang this Saturday night at Albion Park.

In the standing start feature over 2647 metres, Hewitt expects there to be plenty of action and driving moves in the race.

“Sydney used to have a good standing start race a few years ago over a similar distance and I thought that was a really good viewing race,” he said.

“There was plenty of moves in that race and they dropped it, I reckon this one here in Brisbane, the 2647 metre stand up, is great. It creates a lot of interest.”

The Redcliffe Cup is also run from a standing start every year.  

The Hewitt runners are rated as $6.50 – The Mustang – and $8.50 – Make Mine Memphis – respectively for Saturday night’s race with the TAB.

Make Mine Memphis is a multiple Albion Park winner earlier in his career.

Make Mine Memphis began smartly last Saturday evening in his first Sunshine State outing of the campaign before being overrun in the final stages.

“I thought he went well last week, he stepped away clean and obviously Rickie Alchin’s horse found the front there and he never got a run until late,” Hewitt said.

“The outside horses had momentum up by the time he got clear running.

“I thought he found the line really good. It is a matter of him stepping clean this week and getting the right sort of luck I the run I think.”

The six-year-old gelding has earned almost $200,000 in prize money and the experienced trainer thought before he departed for Queensland that he would be in for a strong northern stint.

“He was flying before he left home a couple of weeks ago, I could not have been happier with him,” Hewitt said.

“He has been going as good as he has for the last couple of years, he has had a few troubles in the past, so hopefully he is back on target.

“He had a throat operation a couple of years ago and now it seems like he has found a new lease on life.

“Hopefully, that shows out in his races.”

Stable mate The Mustang led them into the home straight last week and Hewitt thinks he will be better for the effort.  

“I think his run was full of merit last week as he was caught in the death seat and he had the audacity to lead into them into the straight and he just got swamped late,” Hewitt said.

“He ran ninth was he was not beaten all that far.”

Dual Group 1 champion Ripp will be joined by fellow emerging star from the barn Jewel Melody north of the border in the coming weeks.

She is a last-start Group 1 APG Gold Bullion Series 2YO Fillies Final champion at Menangle as well as claiming the Group 1 Bathurst Gold Tiara in late March.

“She will come for the QBRED series race for the fillies and she will race in the open two-year-old race as well,” Hewitt said.

“She has had a fortnight off recently after she won the APG race, she will be back trialling within a week or ten days.”

By Jordan Gerrans