Silver Melody, unwanted by buyers at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale landed a sizeable plunge when she won Saturdays 900 metre Maiden Plate at Newcastle Racecourse. The striking grey filly did not attract a solitary bid when presented in the Magic Millions sale ring so breeders Peter Orton and Newcastle businessman Allan Cox decided to race the filly.
Orton owns the famous Vinery Stud at Scone and his right-hand man Adam White shares in the ownership of Silver Melody with Cox and Orton. Kris Lees trains Silver Melody and she was on debut on Saturday following a quiet recent trial at Cessnock. The trainer called on the evergreen Robert Thompson to ride her on Saturday and stable followers snapped up the $8 on offer when some corporate bookmakers framed their first markets.
Silver Melody was the only horse backed to beat the $1.95 favourite Angiolini firming into $3.20 at barrier rise. Angiolini set a sizzling pace leading by three lengths in the run to the home turn. Thompson had the runner in second placed until the 200 metres where she shot clear. Silver Melody had to withstand a late charge by runner up Watching which came from last on the turn.
With Lees at Randwick, Thompson praised Silver Melody on returning to scale. “She is a nice filly and she will improve with that run under her belt. She got a bit tired late but she dashed when I let her go in the straight.” RT said.
Thompsons great strike rate with the Hawkes training partnership continued on Saturday when the Australian Hall of Famer piloted blueblood Mascot to victory in the opening event, the 1400 metre Maiden Plate. Chris Wallers Be Mindful was the $2.05 favourite and he led from the outset and he kicked away at the top of the straight. Thompson had Mascot ($2.40) well placed in fifth spot to the home turn where he made his move.
Despite wanting to lay in, Mascot sprinted to lead inside the 100 metres and he won running away by a length from Be Mindful. “I was always confident during the race. This horse likes to chase and he let down really well at the 300. It was good to see Mascot break through and he should derive confident from the win.” Thompson said.
The Cessnock superstar heads to Grafton now for this week’s two-day Grafton Cup Carnival with a career tally of 4355 wins. He has ridden four Grafton Ramornie winners and he rides one of his previous winners, Big Money on Wednesday in the major sprint race of the Carnival.
Kris Lees had a field day on Saturday with the stable saddling up five winners, Silver Melody and Aliferous were successful at Newcastle, Envy Of All saluted at Randwick while Princess Post and Hallelujah Boy won at Doomben. Lees 2017/18 season tally stands at 178 ½ and he is having a real crack at the double century. Lees has wrapped up the 2017/18 Newcastle Trainers Premiership with only Tuesdays meeting remaining in this season.
Lees has trained 30 winners on the two Newcastle tracks, eight more than Peter and Paul Snowden. In the Newcastle Jockeys Premiership Mitchell Bell has a 2 ½ win lead over Jeff Penza and Aaron Bullock. Underrated jockey Adrian Layt and Irish apprentice Robbie Dolan, both finished the day with a double at Newcastle on Saturday.