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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


WEDNESDAY: May 4, 2022: IT is nearly six years since Mark Newnham kicked off his training career, and Hawkesbury is his most successful track to date.

So it is no surprise that not only is he already a premiership victor at the provincial track, but fronts up there tomorrow with three representatives – and all have good chances.

Newnham has trained 43 winners at Hawkesbury for a strike rate of 22.3 per cent, and his 54 placegetters give him a strike rate of just over 50 per cent.

He produced 15 winners there last season to easily clinch his first ever premiership, six more than nearest rivals Chris Waller, Team Snowden and Kris Lees.

Newnham, who also has runners at tomorrow’s opening day of the Wagga Cup carnival, sends Assiduity (Living Turf Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1100m), Toesonthenose (Richmond Club Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1600m), and Vyner (Lander Toyota Class 1 Handicap, 1300m) to Hawkesbury – where he has seven winners on the board so far this season - for the last three races on the eight-event card.

With the trainer’s main rider and current Hawkesbury premiership front-runner Josh Parr (14 wins) on the suspended list, Sam Clipperton partners the Newnham trio.

Interestingly, all three horses have raced well at Hawkesbury, with Assiduity and Toesonthenose boasting recent victories there, and Vyner ran second at the track when on debut in June last year on heavy ground.

“Assiduity is back in grade from a city meeting on Easter Monday where he ran third to Democracy Manifest (favorite to score again at Canterbury today) over 1300m at Warwick Farm,” Newnham said this morning.

“I thought he ran well that day, and won his Maiden at Hawkesbury 13 days earlier on soft ground.

“He has drawn the inside barrier, and gets a good opportunity to win another race.”

Newnham has opted to put a cross-over nose band on Toesonthenose, explaining he considered such a gear change necessary after the three-year-old’s latest third to Hollywood North on the Kensington track on Anzac Day.

“Toesonthenose overdid it a bit that day, and it surprised me,” Newnham said.

“In the circumstances, he ran well and has been very comfortable working in the gear since.

“His Maiden win at Hawkesbury over 1400m at his previous start was conclusive, and tomorrow’s 1600m should suit him nicely.”

Vyner, a lightly-raced Snitzel three-year-old, returns as a gelding.

“I’m sure it will be the makings of him,” Newnham said.

“Whilst he won his Maiden at Wyong last November, he just wasn’t applying himself in his races.

“I expect him to run very well first-up at the 1300m, and then step up in distance.”

Vyner hasn’t raced since finishing third at Newcastle on November 28 in an 1850m Class 1 Handicap on heavy ground, and has had two Randwick trials to prepare him for his resumption.

Newnham, who previously operated out of both Randwick and Warwick Farm stables with 75 in work, is now solely based at the former track and in a rebuilding stage with his stable.

“It’s much better as I was doing so much travelling between the two set-ups, and I’m only a few minutes from the Randwick stable,” he said.

“I’ve got 50 boxes, and 10 more would be ideal.

“A number of our older horses have been retired, and I’ve got a lot of unraced younger ones.”

Aside from Vyner racing as a gelding, his Godolphin rivals Camaguey (James McDonald) and Brillar (Brenton Avdulla) both line up tomorrow, having had gear changes.

Camaguey has blinkers off and a nose roll on, whilst his stablemate will sport blinkers for the first time.

. The rail has remained in the TRUE position as it was for last Saturday’s 10-race stand-alone meeting, and racecourse manager Rick Johnston is pleased with how the track has come up after such a marathon program on heavy ground.

“Given the rain we had on race morning, the course proper raced really well and has a good grass coverage,” Johnston said this morning.

“We have upgraded to a ‘Soft 7’, and I’m confident we can get to a ‘6’ if the fine weather continues.

“Unfortunately, there is more rain forecast tonight.”

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