SUNDAY: April 4, 2021: TRAINERS Mark Newnham and David Payne’s Group 1 aspirations at The Championships will be temporarily put on hold whilst they chase “smaller fry” at Hawkesbury tomorrow.
Each has only the one starter at the “Support Our Hawkesbury” public holiday meeting, but both horses will be in strong demand with punters.
Hawkesbury premiership pacesetter Newnham, who has third favorite Harmony Rose contesting the $1m Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday week, will be represented by three-year-old Bob, early favorite for the Support Our Hawkesbury Class 1/Maiden Plate (2000m).
Payne, who has Spring Champion Stakes winner Montefilia, ruling co-favorite for both Saturday’s $2m Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick and outright favorite for the Oaks a week later, starts another early favorite Gleneagles in the Help The Hawkesbury Farmers 2YO Maiden Plate (1000m).
Last season’s premier Hawkesbury jockey Rachel King will ride Pierro three-year-old Bob, and Keagan Latham partners lightly-raced juvenile Gleneages, a newcomer to Payne’s stable.
Newnham has given punters a strong lead for Bob, withdrawing him from yesterday’s Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens to focus on the Hawkesbury event.
“It was an easy decision,” Newnham said today. “He was a $51 shot for the Tulloch and has come up a short-priced favorite at Hawkesbury.”
Newnham hasn’t ruled out backing up Bob in Saturday’s Australian Derby if he wins tomorrow.
“It’s not out of the question, but he would need to win well at Hawkesbury,” Newnham said.
“Bob is a much better horse since being gelded, and has taken improvement from his first-up run over 1400m at Kembla Grange early last month.
“He has since had a nice trial (third to Marsannay over 1200m at Randwick on March 21), and the step up to 2000m suits.”
Bob is owned by the Kolivos family, who raced his sire Pierro, a winner at 11 of his 14 starts and beaten only once (and that was runner-up to Sacred Falls in the 2013 Doncaster Mile) in four starts at Randwick.
Newnham’s three-year-old tomorrow returns to the scene of his sole success to date; a Maiden Plate (1800m) on heavy ground last September.
Payne is looking forward to taking former Melbourne two-year-old Gleneagles to the races.
The Capitalist youngster was previously trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, and is raced by Melbourne-based Aramco Racing.
“I’ve got a few horses for them, and Gleneagles is the first to start,” Payne said today.
“He was shin sore when I got him earlier in the year after his first campaign, and needed a break.
“Gleneagles trialled nicely (third to yesterday’s Rosehill winner Saif at that track over 895m last Monday) and is ready to kick off a new campaign.
“I expect him to run boldly from the inside barrier.”
Payne has decided to remove a tongue tie from Gleneagles, who fetched $500,000 as a yearling at the Gold Coast last year and made his debut in the Magic Millions Wyong 2YO Classic (1100m) when second to She’s All Class in December.
He then finished fifth to Queen Of Wizardry in a 2YO Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on January 2, and subsequently switched stables.
. Hawkesbury trainers Brad Widdup and Edward Cummings also have Group 1 aspirations at The Championships.
Widdup will discuss with Icebath’s owners whether to back up the mare in Saturday’s $3m Doncaster Mile, or wait another week for the $1m Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) against her own sex.
Icebath, last year’s $7.5m Golden Eagle runner-up, finished fifth in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 13, then drew awkwardly and wasn’t suited by the pattern of yesterday’s racing at that track when an excellent fourth to Nimalee in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m).
“I’m not certain Icebath would get a run in the Doncaster, but will talk about the race with her owners,” Widdup said.
“Getting a suitable jockey to ride her at 50kg is another matter.”
Widdup has named recent runaway Albury winner Mix as an unlikely runner on his home track in the Hawkesbury Community Recovery Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) tomorrow.
Fifth generation trainer Cummings is pressing ahead to Saturday’s Australian Derby with his gallant Tulloch Stakes runner-up Prompt Prodigy.
“He has pulled up well and deserves his chance in the Derby,” Cummings said today. “Rachel King is happy to stick with him.”
Cummings has done a splendid job with Prompt Prodigy, a son of More Than Ready who has not finished further back than third at his last five starts, including his Group 2 placing yesterday.
. The rail is in the TRUE position for the public holiday meeting, and a “Good 4” rating has been posted.
. Paul Joice’s selections are:
RACE 1: REAL PEACE, Lamu, Shaddy.
RACE 2: SIX AGAIN, Green Kudos, Beyliks.
RACE 3: GLENEAGLES, Hard To Excel, Overpass.
RACE 4: TOOSTAR, Maurice’s Medad, Kahuka.
RACE 5: NOBLE PRIVILEGE, Budhwar, O’Tartan Lass.
RACE 6: YARDSTICK, Palazzi Signorili, Fifteen Aria.
RACE 7: GRAVINA, Resilient Star, Ceasefire.
BEST: REAL PEACE, TOOSTAR