Another double to Aaron Bullock and a successful plunge on the Richard Freedman trained Triple Choice highlighted Mondays Cessnock race meeting. Bullock took his season tally to 52 when successful on Furore ($1.30) in the Wine Country Motor Inn Class 2 Handicap (1570m). Later in the day he steered Gosford five-year-old Frogmarch ($5.50) to victory in the Cessnock Leagues Club Benchmark 57 Handicap (1150m). Furore is a three-year-old raced by Australian Bloodstock and trained by Kris Lees. He was impressive on debut at Taree when he vindicated his odds-on quote claiming victory by half a length. On Monday, the gelding raced away to win by four lengths and Furore is ready to step up to Provincial company.
Frogmarch followed up a narrow Gunnedah Maiden win with a win on Monday. Rookie Gosford trainer Natasha Hall- Antonio prepares Frogmarch and it was the trainers third winner from a limited number of starters.
Triple Choice was a $17 chance when corporate bookmakers went up with their prices for the Tyrrell’s Wines Maiden Plate (1570m). Continued support for the three-year-old on raceday saw his price tumble into $4.20. Shaun Guymer rode Triple Choice and he produced a gem of a ride to land the Choisir gelding a winner.
Another well backed commodity, Lady Chicago ran up to her recent trial performance when she won the opening event the XXXX Gold Class 1 Handicap (900m). The mare split the well performed pair Musical Query and Raiden in a recent Wyong trial. Lady Chicago was backed from $7.50 into $4.60 on Monday and ridden behind the leaders, she landed the prize. Trainer Scott Aspery has only moved to Newcastle in recent times and the win was his second in the past five weeks.
Punters who supported the $1.45 favourite Strip Tease in the Royal Oak Hotel Cessnock Benchmark 55 Handicap (1150m) had no cause for concern from the onset. Chad Lever took the mare to the front when the gates opened and she was never challenged, scoring by more than two lengths. Strip Tease was an easy winner at Bathurst with 57 kilograms on her back on January 22 and the four-year-old had to bump 61 kilograms on Monday.
Wyong trainer Damian Lane pulled the right rein when he decided to start his three-year-old Ayeteem at Cessnock in preference to Tuesdays Kembla meeting. The gelding drew adverse barriers in both races but Lane decided the Cessnock race was the easier. Ayeteem put the writing on the wall with a close second at Wyong on January 21. He led all the way to win by 1 3/4 lengths with Hawksbury jockey Robbie Brewer aboard. The win was an early wedding present for Lane and his fiancée and part owner Kate Law as the pair will marry in seven weeks.
Blinkers for the first time and a drop-in class were responsible for the win of filly Smart Enough in the final event the East Cessnock Bowling Club Maiden Plate (1150m). Smart Enough is trained by Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes and Robert Thompson put her in a winning position from the outset.