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  • John Curtis


WEDNESDAY: November 3, 2021: REIGNING Hawkesbury premiership winner Mark Newnham returns there tomorrow as he plots a feature summer path with rehabilitated six-year-old Quackerjack.

Newnham takes on Melbourne Cup winning trainer Chris Waller, who has five of the nine acceptors – including early favorite Wheelhouse - in the $150,000 Listed Ladies Day Cup (1600m).

Quackerjack, on the back of his record and an excellent comeback run at Royal Randwick last month, is the $3.70 fixed odds second fancy with behind Wheelhouse ($2.60).

Newnham’s Not A Single Doubt gelding underwent knee surgery earlier this year and was off the scene after finishing second to Bandersnatch (conceding him 5kg) in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) at Randwick until his resumption fourth to Exoboom in the Filante Handicap over the same course on October 23.

“It was an excellent performance under 60.5kg coming back from such a long break,” Newnham, who ran second with Burning Passion in the Ladies Day Cup three years ago, said this morning.

“The pace was hot (the winner clocked a very slick 1:21.27), and Quackerjack fought on strongly to be beaten only one and a half lengths.

“I’m very happy with how he has returned. He is moving really well.

“My only reservation is that he is going to the ‘mile”’ now even though he has a good second up record (two wins and two placings from seven starts).

“However, it was the only suitable race leading up The Gong and the Villiers Stakes.

“Understandably, he isn’t quite at his peak yet, but I expect him to run well all the same.”

Quackerjack has raced once previously at Hawkesbury two and a half years ago when he finished third to Military Zone in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m).

He finished second to Mister Sea Wolf in the inaugural running of the $1m The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange in November, 2019 before defeating Invincible Gem and Sambro in the Group 2 Villiers (1600m) at Randwick the following month, but didn’t contest either race last year.

Quackerjack’s rider Josh Parr has been aboard the gelding in four of his eight victories to date, and is no stranger to Ladies Day Cup success either.

He won the race in both 2013 and 2014 on Tromso and Strawberry Boy respectively, ironically for Newnham’s Ladies Day Cup rival Waller, who numbers four of the last seven runnings amongst his burgeoning list of credits.

Waller, having clinched a memorable Melbourne Cup breakthrough yesterday with Verry Elleegant, has won the last two renewals of the Hawkesbury feature with Cellarman (Mitchell Bell, 2019) and Black On Gold (Brenton Avdulla, last year).

His representatives tomorrow are Polly Grey (Lee Magorrian), Reloaded (Jason Collett), Mohican Heights (Jay Ford), Wheelhouse (Tommy Berry) and Guise (Glyn Schofield).

Both Collett (Duca Valentinois in 2017 and Pecans the following year) and Ford (Famous Seamus in 2016) also have had Ladies Day Cup success.

Lightly-raced four-year-old Wheelhouse, who was third emergency and missed out on a start in last Saturday’s $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens, finished fourth and fifth respectively in both the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in March.

He resumed in the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 16, and undoubtedly will have taken improvement from his seventh to Quackerjack’s stablemate Big Parade.

Newnham, who has prepared four winners (only one behind Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott) at Hawkesbury in this new season, also will be represented by second favorite Vyner (Parr) in the Irresistible Pools & Spas Maiden Plate (1500m).

The Snitzel three-year-old has been placed at two of his four starts, and his trainer says he is getting close to a win.

“His last run at Kembla over 1600m was good as he struck trouble and dipped at the 600m,” Newnham said.

“He recovered to finish second, but the Godolphin runner (Dark Energy) was too good on the day.”

Dual acceptor and first starter First Peoples, now prepared by Newcastle-based Sam Kavanagh, has been withdrawn from the Macquarie Liberals Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1100m) in favour of the All Aspects Roofing 4YO&Up Maiden Plate over the same distance.

. Course manager Rick Johnston this morning posted a “Good 4” rating for tomorrow’s meeting, and the rail is in the TRUE position. A total of 4mm of irrigation has been put on the track in the last 24 hours, and 22mm in the past seven days.

. Paul Joice’s selections are:

RACE 1: HYPNOSIS, First Peoples, Zohan.

RACE 2: NO STATEMENT, Mr Burgundy, Moon Reader.

RACE 3: SEDUCTION QUEEN, Microna, Etheridge.

RACE 4: FOR VALOUR, Vyner, Sheer Treasure.

RACE 5: MAJOR MURPHY, Daichi, Quiet Riot.

RACE 6: CROSS TALK, Sonic Tycoon, Kung Fu Mushu.

RACE 7: QUACKERJACK, Reloaded, Looks Like Elvis.

RACe 8: FREE RIDER, Just A Jedi, Carolina Free.


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