The high-profile Sydney trainers have been dominating Newcastle Jockey Club’s race meetings for some months but on Saturday the Novocastrians bounced back with four of the eight winners.
Newcastle & Hunter Racing Hall of Famer Paul Perry trained his fifty third winner for the current season when he was successful with two-year-old filly Ellie’s Encore and Surfin’ Safari. Kris Lees’ Irish apprentice Louise Day landed her fourth winner when she steered Munjai to victory for her boss.
Buon Natale made a welcome return to form for Jason Deamer, the trainer’s third winner in five days. The win of Ellie’s Encore in the 900 metre 2-year-old Maiden was special for Perry as the filly was bred and is raced by the trainer’s wife Cassie and the winner’s sire is Perry’s Royal Ascot hero Choisir.
Perry said following the race that Ellie’s Encore will be better suited when she raced over further than Saturday’s 900 metre trip. “It was a strong win and she will be even better at 1200 metres. I was confident that she would win after her close second in her first start at Taree. It was an open Maiden at Taree and I thought Ellie’s Encore was unlucky. My wife Cassie bred her and the filly has always shown us that she would win races.” Perry said.
Surfin’ Safari’s win in the 1400 metre Benchmark 70 was gutsy as he travelled wide all the way. South African jockey Keagan Latham was aboard Surfin’ Safari and the young hoop is relishing the opportunities he has been given by the Perry stable in recent weeks. “Surfin’ Safari had not won a race for some time but his recent form was okay. This horse is a wet tracker and the soft track was in his favour. He was three deep all the way. I had been impressed with Keagan Latham since he arrived from South Africa. I have only been putting him on in recent weeks and he has ridden three or four winners for me.” Perry said.
Champion trainer Chris Waller won races at Rosehill, Gold Coast, Morphettville and Newcastle on Saturday. Waller’s New Zealand bred filly So Splendid outstayed her rivals in the 1850 metre Maiden at Newcastle courtesy of a patient ride by Chad Lever. Waller has trained 18 winners at Newcastle in this current season, eleven fewer than Premiership leader John O’Shea.
With O’Shea officially retired, Waller has an outside chance of overhauling Godolphin’s former trainer. There are eight Newcastle race meetings remaining in the 2016/17 season.
Chad Lever took the riding honours for the day with a double aboard So Splendid and Buon Natale. Lever was in doubt for the meeting after suffering a back injury at Cessnock on Tuesday. He had to forfeit rides at Cessnock and had treatment to be fit for Saturdays meeting.
The leaders in the various Newcastle Premiership are as follows:
Australian Bloodstock Trainers Premiership
John O’Shea 29
Chris Waller 18
Peter & Paul Snowden 17
Kris Lees 14
James Cummings 13
TJ’s Services Jockeys Premiership
Jeff Penza 32
Chad Lever 14
Mitchell Bell 13
Rachel King 12
NCP Printing Apprentices Premiership
Rachel King 12
Travis Wolfgram 6
Nick Heywood 4
Andrew Atkins 3