Scone trainer Brett Cavanagh pulled off a long-priced plunge at Newcastle on Saturday with a horse that couldn’t run a place at Narromine in her only other start. Gem Dealer, a daughter of former top stayer Dundeel had not raced or barrier trialled since a luckless further in a Narromine Maiden in August. Corporate bookmakers bet as much as $21 about the filly in the final event, the 1200 metre Maiden Plate. The support for Gem Dealer saw her price tumble into $11 when the field jumped.
Grant Buckley put the three-year-old into the box seat fourth on the rail from the outset. She gained a split in the latter stages and dove through to win by a head. It had been a frustrating day earlier in the meeting for Cavanagh as he watched two of his team Charlottes Heart and Collins Creek storm home into second place.
Cavanagh, one of country New South Wales most successful trainers has only had a handful of starters at Newcastle since he moved from Albury to Scone eighteen months ago. Gem Dealer was his third Newcastle winner in that time. The trainer was confident that Gem Dealer would be competitive. “I told the owners to back her each way. She was working well on the track, but you don’t know what you are going to bump into with Cummings, Snowdon, Baker and Waller with runners. Gem Dealer was slaughtered in her only start at Newcastle. I thought she was a good thing that day, but she was slow away and sat wide with no cover. I have a number of good country horses, but I need to win Saturday races. I have seventy-five in work at Scone and I will be making more frequent trips to Newcastle.” Cavanagh said.
Queensland born Cavanagh trained in the Riverina and Albury before moving to Scone. He won eleven trainers premierships and was country NSW premier trainer three times. Twenty years back, Cavanagh broke a world record for sheep shearing. He was the first Australian to break a world record when he sheared 428 sheep in a day.
Holiday traffic on the M1 forced Sydney jockey Chad Lever to forgo a mount early in the day but when he finally arrived, he steered home two winners. Lever was successful on the Christ Waller trained Litzen and David Pfeiffer’s Cape Wickham. Both were at double figure odds.
Paul Perry’s mare Vihari a ‘good thing’ beaten at Newcastle four starts back made no mistake on Saturday when she won the 2360 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap by 5 ½ lengths. Bred and raced by the Kia Ora Stud at Scone, Vihari could develop into a handy stayer.