Warwick Farm filly Zerchois landed a good-sized plunge when she won a drama packed two-year-old Handicap (900m) at Newcastle on Saturday. Corporate bookmakers went up $12 when markets were released on Thursday but the major support came on Saturday when Zerchois was backed into her starting price of $5.
There was drama in the barriers when the $2.20 favourite Private Universe became unsettled and hit her head. After a veterinary surgeon inspection Private Universe was scratched.
Shortly after the start outside Leica Kite lost her rider Courtney Van Der Werf and the gelding crashed into the running rail. Van Der Werf was transported to John Hunter Hospital with a neck injury.
Zerchois a $50,000 purchase at the 2017 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale was having her fourth start on Saturday. The filly showed natural speed when beaten four lengths in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes in September. After a spell Zerchois had two unplaced runs at Warwick Farm in March.
Trainer Gary Portelli told the filly’s owners he expected her to go close and obviously the large group of owners bet accordingly. “I was confident as I followed a plan that has worked for me in Newcastle 900 metres for some time. Bringing horses back from 1000 to 1200 metre races to the 900 at Newcastle has worked for me. This filly led to the turn at her last start at Warwick Farm and the winner Purse Elation won a Group 2 at Randwick earlier today. Zerchois was clearly over the odds. Jess Taylor rode her perfectly as I told her to have the filly where comfortable. Jess was mindful of the wind during the race and didn’t peel her out behind the leaders until late. Look Zerchois is no star but she will win her share of races. I love racing on this magnificent big track at Newcastle and I have had a lot of success in the 900 metre races.” Portelli said.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Wallers amazing day to remember included a treble at Newcastle. Waller trained three Group 1 winners at Randwick as well as a winner at Caulfield and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast making it eight winners for the day. Wallers three-year-old filly Play was backed from $9 into $3.10 before winning the 1200 metre Maiden Plate. First started Via Veneto ($8.50) and Ombudsman ($3.40) provided Waller with the quinella in the 1400 metre Maiden Handicap. Revolver, an outsider at $15 rounded the day off for the former Kiwi trainer when he just lasted in the 1400 metre Class 2 Handicap.
Victorian filly Play That Song will head to Queensland for a Winer Carnival campaign after an authoritative win in the 1875 metre Class 1 Maiden Plate. The grey filly has sound recently Victorian country form including a first up Bendigo win. Former Kiwi trainer Michael Moroney who won a Melbourne Cup with Brew, trains Play That Song. The grey filly has been set for next month’s Queensland Derby.
Paul Perry’s Nick On The Run was the only local galloper to taste success on Saturday. An impressive last start Muswellbrook winner, Nick On The Run came from near last on the turn to win the 900 metre Benchmark 65 Handicap.