Winning doubles to Sydney apprentice jockeys Blake McDougall and Jean Van Overmeire and success for local trainers Jason Deamer, Rod Ollerton and Kris Lees highlighted Sundays race meeting at Newcastle Racecourse. McDougall returned from suspension with a double for local trainers Deamer and Ollerton. Deamers four-year-old mare Bonita resumed from a five-month spell with a fighting win in the 900 metre Newcastle Equine Centre Benchmark 71 Handicap. Bonita has a very good first up record and she carried the luxury weight of 52 ½ kilograms after McDougall’s claim. On the speed, all the way the mare solid in the market at $5.50 fought tenaciously when challenged by $3.30 favourite All Carisma to win by a nose in a deceptive finish.
Bonita is owned by a group which includes Newcastle’s first-Class cricketer Michael Hogan and his former Merewether teammate Duncan McIllveen. She had accumulated $77,000 in prizemoney from four wins and four placings from twelve starts. McDougall mindful that Bonita may need the run said he nursed her as long as he could. “She never travelled like the winner. The instructions were to get a forward position which we did and I nursed her for as long as I could. When the horse on the outside tried to pass her, she pinned her ears back.”
In the previous event McDougall piloted Ollertons’ consistent mare Just Bute to victory in the 1600 metre Coca-Cola Maiden. Just Bute placed in her previous three starts on a country tracks was an $11 chance and ended a frustrating run. it was her twelfth start on a Sunday and she is raced by Ollerton and Bruce Mackie.
Punters who supported Lees well backed New Zealand bred filly Chilli Cha Cha had to settle for a dead heat in the 1850 metre Tyrrells Wines Class 1 Maiden Plate. Chilli Ch Cha ($2.20f) and Scone four-year-old Mount Bulla ($15) could not be separated at the finishing line. Raced by Edward Throsby Chilli Cha Cha has only had four starts and she won her previous start at Muswellbrook. The filly is a promising stayer. Mount Bulla’s performance was full of merit and the son of Duporth had shown staying promise in his country starts. Mount Bulla was bred by Fred and Mary Moses on their Scone stud and they race the gelding. Mary trains the horse.
Former Port Stephens Mayor Bruce Mackenzie was celebrating another Newcastle win on Sunday. Mackenzie bred and races Oakfield Captain, impressive winner on debut of the IGA Liquor Maiden (900m). Unwanted by punters, the gelding drifted to $31 before he ran down $2 favourite Olifants. Damian Lane trains Oakfield Captain at Wyong and Aaron Bullock was aboard.