Gai Waterhouse and former European gallopers have a great record over recent years in the Newcastle Cup and that trend could continue with Waterhouse represented by two imported horses in this year’s renewal on Friday. Waterhouse has won three of the past seven editions – Bianca (2008), Stratofortress (2009) and Glencadam Gold (2012) and this year, she’ll be looking to The Offer or Zee Zeely, to make it four from eight. Other imported gallopers sure to attract plenty of attention are Orbec and Magic Hurricane. The pair have posted some impressive results of late and have strong credentials for this event given their results over similar distances in Europe. Emerging stayer Astronomos is also well supported in early markets and could not been in a better position for his first crack at a Group race.
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1. THE OFFER – T Berry (1) 60kgs
Recorded a strong win first up off a nine week break in the Rowley Mile (1600m), making a sustained run prior to the home-turn from the rear of the field, under the steadier of 61kgs, to beat Dragon Flyer (54kgs) by a length. His next start was just as good in running third (0.9 length) to the very-munch in-form Beyond Thankful, in the Wyong Gold Cup (2080m). He was the widest turning for home at Wyong in a big field and closed strongly late, again under a big weight. Newcastle’s long run home should suit and 2300m third-up looks ideal.
2. BEYOND THANKFUL – Hugh Bowman (10) 58kgs
Really hit her straps this time in winning three of her past four starts, including the Wyong Gold Cup at her most recent outing. Rolled forward and sat outside of the leader at Wyong before toughing it out well in the straight, holding off some fast-finishing challengers to win by half a length. Steps beyond 2000m for the first time in Australia but could be in no better form to take on the challenge.
3. JETSET LAD – P Hammersley (16) 57kgs
Produced a very tough effort to narrowly win the G2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) during his home-state’s winter carnival and continued that good form with a victory in the Listed Tatt’s Mile (1600m) since.
His most recent run, his first five weeks, saw him finish second to last of seven (2.3 lengths) when chasing home Epic. Did himself no favours rearing at the start last time out and whilst fitter, doesn’t get much weight relief despite the rise in class and form out of that race has been only fair. Will find it tough from the outside gate.
4. MAGIC HURRICANE – (14) 54kgs
He recorded his second win from only four Australian starts in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at his most recent outing. Courtesy of a 4kgs pull in the weights, he got the better of Silverball over the final stages with Beyond Thankful finishing fourth. Silverball won last weekend’s G3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and Beyond Thankful, the Wyong Gold Cup (2080m) at their following corresponding starts. Great form all around him and being a winner over 2400m in Europe, would expect him to run very well here.
5. ORBEC – Tye Angland (8) 54kgs
Produced a stunning effort first up from a spell to run a narrowest of second to Beyond Thankful in a BM 95 (1800m) and was 0.6 lengths behind the same horse again when third in the Wyong Gold Cup (2080m). With a touch of luck, the imported galloper from France, who has a Listed 2500m victory in that country to his name, could be aiming for a hat-trick here. Can make amends and rates very highly.
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6. DISCLAIMER – (12) 54kgs
Winner of this race last year after running fifth in the Wyong Cup and prepared for his defence with a tenth placing in this year’s Wyong Cup. He made a move from a midfield position leaving the 600m last start but struggled over the last furlong, finishing tenth (3.8 lengths) behind Beyond Thankful. Needs to improve on that run and overall form this campaign to be successful again.
7. ORIENTAL LADY – B Avdulla (2) 54kgs
Settled in a lovely spot during the running of the Wyong Gold Cup, one out and one back, trailing the eventual winner Beyond Thankful. The 6yo mare, whose last win was in July 2014 (BM 85), felt the pinch last being second up and finished sixth (1.3 lengths). Fitter again, twice placed at Listed level earlier this year however, in a race of good depth, would think each-way her best option.
8. ASTRONOMOS – J Collett (3) 54kgs
Lightly raced and promising young stayer who recorded his sixth win at start number nine at his most recent outing, producing a big finish to claim Loophole and the BM 83 (2000m) a fortnight ago. Faces a big step up in class here but has a tonne of natural ability, still on the improve and could be in no better form for the challenge. Will be putting himself right in the picture.
9. JUST AS COSMIC – (6)
Honest mare who ran second in both the Taree Cup and Wyong Gold Cup in her past two starts but the fact remains, her last win was May 2013 in a BM 64 at Wagga. No reason why she won’t be competitive here again, the winner of the Taree Cup also ran very well in the Wyong Cup, and she has drawn perfectly in six. It’s her average strike rate that makes it hard to take her with any confidence.
10. SANSENKILE – K McEvoy (11) 54kgs
Did all he could do first up from a spell in a BM 84 (1400m) when seventh (4.1 lengths) behind Forget before doing his best work late at his only run since, finishing fourth to Astronomos in a BM 83 (2000m). Fitter again and whilst trainer has an exceptional record in the Country Cups, this 5yo is new to this grade and hard to see him turning the tables on Astronomos here, let alone getting the better of others.
11. GHOST PROTOCOL – T Huet (13) 54kgs
Flew late to secure the Taree Cup two starts back, his first win in fifteen starts, before backing it up with another strong finishing burst in the Wyong Gold Cup, rocketing home from near last to run fourth (0.8 lengths) behind Beyond Thankful. Local galloper who will appreciate the longer Newcastle straight and on recent form, has to be given an each-way hope.
12. RIO PERDIDO – C Reith (9) 54kgs
Former import who hadn’t raced in two years when last of eight at Canterbury before a much improved effort behind King Kinshasa – who was good in last weekend’s G3 Kingston Town Stakes, finishing third (3 lengths) in a BM 75 (1800m). Battled away at his only run since though, finishing seventh to Hearne’s Oak last weekend at Rosehill. Needed to see a much stronger performance from there for him to be considered any hope here.
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13. ZEE ZEELY – G Waterhouse (5) 54kgs
Fair enough effort from the imported galloper when having his first local start for trainer Gai Waterhouse in running fourth (BM 70, 1900m) at Canterbury last month, before in a BM 75 over the same course and distance, being pipped on the post Maurus – who subsequently ran a very close second to Silverball in the G3 Kingston Town Stakes at his following start. Gai has a good record in this race in recent years wouldn’t dismiss this bloke from running a race here.
14. NISSILE – A Spinks (7) 54kgs
Local galloper who has had his past couple of starts in Brisbane, and been accounted for in both, finishing fourth on each occasion.
The first was to Shotover River and the second to Hot Saga, both over 2220m. Needed to be winning those events in a good fashion to warrant consideration here.
15. NAPOLEON – G Schofield (4)
Steadily improving stayer from the Jarrod Austin yard who has filled a place at each of his past three starts, the most recent when third to Emerald City (2.1 lengths) in a BM 80 (2400m). Carries the same weight here but steps up to a much stronger grade and hard to see him winning under those conditions and on current form.
16. MORE THAN AHOLIDAY – C Dwyer (15)
Chased home Glorious Sinndar – who was also in the nominations for this race, when finishing a well beaten second (3.5 lengths) at his most recent start. That effort, combined with a wide draw here, will see him struggle.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Keen on Orbec here for John Thomson.
He’s been in the thick of some tight finishes in the right lead-up races and now, being third up and reaching 2300m, his pet distance judging by European results, looks very hard to beat. Similar case can be put forward for Magic Hurricane but given his wider draw, would think he’ll be giving Orbec a start at the top of the straight. The Offer is going very well and from the inside gate, gets every chance whilst the progression of Astronomos in recent months cannot be ignored.
3. THE OFFER
4. MAGIC HURRICANE