The Ronald McDonald House Raceday at the Newcastle Racecourse was again hugely popular for one of Newcastle’s favourite charities. Saturday marked the eighteenth successive year the Ronald McDonald House Race Day has been held.
On the track, Kris Lees joined Chris Waller as the leaders in the Australian Bloodstock Newcastle Trainers Premiership, following the win of undefeated gelding Fuji Fury. The latter, winner of his only two previous starts at Taree and Coffs Harbour stepped up to provincial class in the 1880 metre Joanne McLean Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap.
Andrew Gibbons was aboard the three-year-old which was a short-priced favourite. Fuji Fury was never travelling like a winner after settling way back in the field. He was given a crack with the whip at the 800’ and he was going nowhere. ‘Gibbo’ never gave up on the son of champion sire, Redoute’s Choice and under hard riding, the favourite picked up the bit at the top of the straight. In a blanket finish Fuji Fury put his nose in front on the line.
The winner a half-brother to dual Group 1 winner Yosei was purchased by Australian Bloodstock at a Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sae for $120,000. The Hunter based syndicate founder Jamie Lovett was on hand to greet Fuji Fury as he returned to scale. “This horse has been a very slow maturer. At one stage the stable wasn’t confident that he would ever get to the races. Fuji Fury is now a promising stayer and he looks like he will run a lot further.” Lovett said.
Gibbons continued his flying start to the season and has ridden 35 winners in less than three months.
Venture Capital overcame a moderate start to snatch victory late in the 900 metre Collaborative Construction Solutions Class 2 Handicap. A short-coursed specialist, the Wyong trained mare with a tongue tie this preparation and in all three starts, she has run out the trips much stronger.
Brett Partelle trains Venture Capital which is raced by Bert Vieira and his family. “The tongue tie has made a big difference to this mare. She has exceptional speed but today she didn’t jump as quick and was impressive racing off the speed. Venture Capital may run 1200 on that performance.” Partelle said. The Vieira family race The Everest runner up Trapeze Artist, and Partelle in the past has trained two Group winners Torro’s Quest and Walking And Dancing for the family.
Local trainer Ken Lantry was in the winner’s circle with Buddy’s Ode in the Auto One Warners Bay Benchmark 64 (1400m). Former Adelaide apprentice Brandon Griffiths was aboard the winner and it was his first Newcastle winner.
Chad Lever and Geoff Penza took the riding honours for the day with a double apiece