Newcastle’s premier jockey Andrew Gibbons landed a double at the first Newcastle race meeting of the 2019-20 season on Saturday. The 2950 metre Hunter Stayers Cup was the feature event and Gibbons who won the inaugural Cup in 2018 made it back to back victories on the Todd Howlett tough stayer Yuralla Boy.
Last year Gibbons steered the Darren Weir trained stayer It’s a Silvertrail to victory. Gibbons had his first ride on Yuralla Boy at Kembla the previous Saturday when he was only beaten a length by Hotel Amour. The $3.80 second favourite for Saturday’s race, Yuralla Boy drifted to $8 on Saturday and he travelled sweetly in a midfield position until Gibbons allowed him to stride forward from the 800 metres. Yuralla Boy reached the lead at the top of the straight and he dashed clear.
Former Irish stayer Kellstorm made a long run from the tail of the field in the straight and he was within a head of the winner when the judge called a halt. Yuralla Boy is raced by trainer Howlett’s uncle Max Howlett who paid $12,000 for the gelding at a Scone Yearling Sale.
Saturday’s win took the five-year old’s racetrack earnings to more than $126,000. Todd Howlett wasn’t on track at Newcastle as he was at Rosehill where another of his stayers Apache Junction finished fourth in the Highway Handicap. he was contacted by phone.
“I gave him a good chance after his Kembla run a week earlier. That was Gibbo’s first ride on him at Kembla and he let him stride much earlier on Saturday.
Yuralla Boy is tough and he won a 2300 metre race as a three-year-old at Newcastle earlier in is career. That was his sixth win and I will look for another race in a couple of weeks,” Howlett said.
Racegoers had to wait until the final event to see a cracking colt resume from a spell with a brilliant win. Famous, a three-year-old with a deep pedigree is trained by the Snowden’s and he was backed into $1.75 in the 1200 metre Maiden Handicap. The colt had not raced since April when he was runner up in a strong two-year-old Maiden on the Kensington track.
Christian Reith knocked back rides at Rosehill to partner Famous and he wasn’t disappointed. “He is pretty good, and he was cantering on the turn. This horse was fast today but was too classy. Famous has so much potential. He has a bright future and the experience will do him good,” Reith Said.
Supporters of Port Macquarie trainer John Sprague gained a quick return on their outlay to buy Victorian sprinter Stylish Pattern, winner of the 1400 metre Maiden Plate.
The four-year-old has been placed in seven of his twelve Victorian starts before heading to Port Macquarie three weeks back. His new owners forked out $18,000 for Stylish Pattern and first prize on Saturday was $16,740, Andrew Gibbons rode the winner and was impressed. “We had no favours during the race but he was tough. He will only improve and could develop into a Country Championship horse next year,” Gibbons said.
Aaron Bullock and Gibbons both rode doubles at the meeting.
Kris Lees trained gelding Albert’s No Pussy was the only local to win on the eight race program.