Newcastle trainers have found the going tough taking on the major Sydney stables at the Newcastle Jockey Club’s Saturday race meetings in recent years; However, on Saturday four local trainers each trained a winner on the eight-race program. In race order the Novocastrian trainers winners were Iron Duke (Ben Smith), Moondancer (Kris Lees), Western Folk (Paul Perry) and What Could Be (Alan Scorse).
In a daring move, Sydney Jockey Christian Reith took the heavily backed $2.10 favourite Iron Duke to the lead early in the race and from there on it was a procession. The four-year-old careered away in the straight to win the 1885 metre Maiden Plate by four lengths. Ben Smith was impressed. “Nice win, he is bred to stay, and it was only his fourth race start. Iron Duke is learning all the time and I have no doubt he will run 2000 or 2400 metres. This horse is Queensland bred and the owners live in Sydney. I will look for another Provincial middle-distance race for him next” Smith said.
The Lees trained Moondancer maintained his unbeaten record on the Newcastle track when he was successful in the 1400 metre Class 2 Handicap. The Kiwi bred four-year-old won a Newcastle Maiden when trained by Chris Waller on May 8. Moondancer has had four starts for Lees for two wins, both at Newcastle. The winner was given a peach of a ride by the in form Andrew Gibbons. The leader put Moondancer in the box seat behind the leaders before easing into the clear at the top of the straight. Amazingly Moondancer drifted in the betting from $3.20 to $4.40.
Western Folk a staying bred filly prepared by Paul Perry gave bookmakers a good result when she won the 1200 metre Maiden at the juicy odds of $19.
In the closest finish of the day, former Toowoomba jockey Skye Bogenhuber in her first ever ride at Newcastle, brought the winner with a well-timed run to snatch victory by a nose. It was only the second start for Western Folk which has a bright future. Bogenhuber was rapt. “I was booked for the three rides all trained by Paul Perry but two of them were scratched, I had never ridden at Newcastle and that was only my second ride for Paul. I won on Winners Edge for the stable at Scone recently. When we hit the line, I thought we may have been beaten but it was as close as it gets. Western Folk is a nice filly and she will appreciate longer trips.” Bogenhuber said.
She accepted an offer to join Scone trainer Brett Cavanagh stable and she has only been there a month. Bogenhuber has ridden close to 600 winners.
Irish apprentice Robbie Dolan now based in Sydney produced a gem of a ride to land What Could Be a winner for Alan Scorse in the 1200 metre Newcastle Nobbys Handicap. What Could Be has no speed and as normal he settled second last after being crunched at the start. Dolan got the winner to the outside at the top of the straight and he unwound a powerful finish to win by two lengths.
Scorse due to ill health has reduced his team to only three in recent months and he was over the moon as the winner retuned to scale. “I have to space his runs because he doesn’t do well if you give him too many gallops or race him every couple of weeks. What Could Be has a huge and great group of owners who have never lost faith. I must praise Libby Weisbach, my son Mathews’ partner as she rode this horse in all his work” Scorse said.
Racegoers may have seen two potential Group stars in action at Newcastle on Saturday. Chabreet from the Snowden Stable won a 900 metre Maiden by 3 ½ lengths and the colt was never off the bit.
Blueblood four-year-old mare Girl Tuesday produced a whirlwind finish to come from second last on the turn to win the 1400 metre Maiden by 2 ½ lengths running away. The mares sire Street Cry is Winx’s ‘Dad’ and Tuesdays Joy her ‘Mum’ won four Group 1’s and multi Group 2’s and 3’s for prizemoney of $3.2 million.
Christian Reith took the ridding honours with a treble and Chris Waller landed a double.