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  • John Curtis


WEDNESDAY: June 30, 2021: MARK Newnham won three Kembla Grange premierships and Newcastle’s Bill Wade Medal (best season strike rate) during an international riding career which netted 642 winners.

Add to that dual recognition in the inaugural 2015 Godolphin stud and stable staff awards, landing both the Thoroughbred Excellence and Dedication To Racing categories when he was Gai Waterhouse’s right-hand man.

Having taken the plunge five years ago to start out training with confidence in his own ability to succeed, Newnham now is in the box seat to capture his first ever premiership on the other side of the fence – and can seal that with a victory or two at Hawkesbury tomorrow.

It’s the second last meeting of the season and, with five good chances, has a real opportunity to boost his current tally of 14 wins; five ahead of Kris Lees and Peter and Paul Snowden.

Newnham won five races at the first four Hawkesbury meetings in August and September last year – and hasn’t looked back.

“Hawkesbury has been a lucky track for us,” he said this morning, aware he has prepared more winners there than any other venue this season.

“There’s no particular reason other than It seems to suit our pattern of racing up on the pace.”

Newnham’s hard work, backed by excellent staff at his Royal Randwick and Warwick Farm operations, is paying off with his most successful season to date (90 winners, including 88 in NSW and overall prizemoney of $5.52m).

His Hawkesbury representatives tomorrow are Angela Sistina (Evergreen Turf Maiden Handicap, 1500m), The Maxinator (XXXX Gold 2YO Maiden Plate, 1000m), Squiggles (Blakes Marine Maiden Plate, 1100m), Stormborn (St Johns Park Bowling Club Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1000m), and Edge Of Darkness (Living Turf Class 1 Handicap, 1600m).

Josh Parr, Newnham’s most successful rider, partners Angela Sistina ($3 with, The Maxinator ($5), and Stormborn ($3.90), whilst stable apprentice Tyler Schiller has the mounts on Squiggles ($9.50) and Edge Of Darkness ($6).

Hawkesbury’s premiership pacesetter took time out this morning to discuss the prospects of his team:

ANGELA SISTINA: “She is bursting to win a race, and I scratched her from Gosford yesterday to run here. Her form has been pretty solid with seconds at her last two starts, and it looks a suitable race for her to break through.”

THE MAXINATOR: “Has trialled well in preparation for his debut. I feel he is going to make into a nice horse, but is tall and a bit narrow at present and needs to fill out. He will go to the paddock after this race, but that’s not to say he can’t win.”

SQUIGGLES: “Improved by two runs and wasn’t beaten far last time (just over four lengths) on the Kensington track. Back to provincial company and blinkers go on tomorrow. She can definitely run an improved race.”

STORMBORN: “Had only the two runs for us and has drawn awkwardly on both occasions. She ran really well last time when fifth to Kinloch on the Kensington track, beaten just over two lengths. Should get a good run from a nice gate tomorrow and in a pretty suitable race.”

EDGE OF DARKNESS: “Putting blinkers on him and going up in distance has produced a Newcastle 1400m win on June 12 and a Hawkesbury 1600m second 10 days later. I felt he really applied himself in that Hawkesbury race and the horse (Remus) that beat him looks smart. He beat the rest even more comfortably, gets through the wet and looks sure to run well again.”

Newnham named his first two runners, Angela Sistina and The Maxinator, as his best chances. “There’s not much between them,” he said.

Aside from Newnham’s quest for an inaugural training title, Parr and Schiller also are vying for honours in their respective premierships.

Parr, who has ridden more winners at Hawkesbury (121) than any other track during his career and is the only jockey to have won all four features (three Group 3s and a Listed race) at the club’s annual Saturday stand-alone fixture, has made a late season surge and, with 10 wins, is only four behind front-runner Jason Collett, an absentee tomorrow.

As well as his three rides for Newnham, he also partners Da Nang Star (HRC Motel 3YO Handicap, 1000m) for Bjorn Baker, Lord Paramount (in Squiggles’ race) for Ciaron Maher/David Eustace, Sacramento Joe (Edge Of Darkness’ race) for Kris Lees, is dually booked for Shotgun Alli and High Academy (Elite Sand & Soil F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1300m) for Ron Quinton and Garry White respectively, and Lucky To Win (Killahy Equine CG&E Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1300m) for Gary Moore.

Last year’s premiership winner Rachel King and Tommy Berry each trail Collett by two wins, and have eight and seven mounts respectively.

Schiller shares the apprentices’ premiership lead (five wins) with his injured “stablemate”, runaway Sydney junior riding leader Tom Sherry, who was visiting his doctor today, hopeful of gaining a clearance to resume riding trackwork after fracturing a wrist when dislodged from Tooradin at Rosehill Gardens on May 22.

Schiller has picked up a new ride on recent Hawkesbury runner-up A Land Of for local trainer Blake Ryan in the HRC Motel 3YO Maiden.

Dual acceptor Smarty Lee (Berry) will run in that race, without blinkers, rather than the Blakes Marine Maiden Plate (1100m).

. The rail is in the TRUE position for tomorrow’s meeting, and a “Soft 7” rating was posted this morning by course manager Rick Johnston.

. Paul Joice’s selections are:

RACE 1: ANGELA SISTINA, Contamination, Alvin The Bold.

RACE 2: AMUNGEE, Dizzy Devine, Smarty Lee.

RACE 3: RUPERTAAR, The Maxinator, Williams Bay.

RACE 4: WAR ETERNAL, Starboreta, Sarandos.

RACE 5: STORMBORN, Star Cherie, Stoical.

RACE 6: DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, Edge Of Darkness, Pensera.

RACE 7: SILENT TRYST, Indigenous, Shotgun Alli.

RACE 8: ADAMAS PRINCE, Lucky To Win, Nicochet.


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