From Stirling Osland
Horse: Leica Model
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 3, Highway Hcp) She came here sound, in good order and Ash (Morgan) and I discussed this Highway at 1600m after her big win at Moree. We were going to wait but he said she won with a bit against her and has form at a mile. And when I looked at the form, I’ve seen tougher Highways. Not saying they’re ever easy but this is a winnable race with the form she’s in. No weight, inside draw and form at the distance. Might not have beat much but she’d won with 55kg and 58kg, trained on, mares generally hold form, so we thought have a crack while she’s eligible. And she had no favours at Moree. I didn’t think she’d get so far back at 1300m off an 1100m win racing handy. But she was worse than midfield and still got over the top of them. If she runs well on Saturday and we think she can, we’ll be back in town in a couple of weeks for another one of these.
From Gary Portelli
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 7, Spring Stakes) He’s been racing in elite company of late and Kintyre should appreciate the drop back to Group 3 grade in the Spring Stakes. He’s been racing well, got a lot of form around Tom Kitten although his last run was a shocker. He had the worst luck possible sitting three deep, blinkers on the first time, pulling his head off. He still had a crack at the top of the straight, it looked like he was trying to get into it but the early effort told. I’ve freshened him up, I’ve taken the blinkers off. I don’t think he appreciated the blinkers last start. Back to the mile and drawn a good gate and he’ll be very competitive. I think this is a fair drop back in grade, unless there’s something coming through that we don’t know about. But based on exposed form he’s probably the horse to beat.
From Nathan Doyle
Horse: Modern Millie
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 2, Midway Hcp) The eight-year-old is in foal and is nearing the end of the period in which pregnant mares are allowed to race. She’s drawn a little bit sticky (gate 10) but it seems the right race and if she gets even luck in the first half she is always genuine and won’t be far away.
Horse: Cosmic Field
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 2, Midway Hcp) It’s probably not the worst thing for him (from gate 12). I thought his best performance was when he won his maiden for us at Hawksbury, he missed the kick and got back in the ruck and was very strong. He won well at Kembla and he’s probably been a bit disappointing since. The other day we resorted back to riding him quiet and he put them away quickly. And to pick himself up and be soft on the line I thought it was a massive win. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could run over the top of them again.
Horse: Hide Your Heart
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 4, NZB Insurance BM 74 Hcp) On the back of her first city win last month, the NZB Insurance Handicap is a logical progression for Hide Your Heart especially as she gets in with 54kg after Anna Roper’s claim. She’s a mare that’s in the right headspace and it’s showing on race day. She had one run for us, and she was getting over 2100m, but we wanted to tip her out and start again with her. You probably like to work with a blank canvas. That’s probably the best thing with tried horses, start from scratch and work them out for yourself. It seems to be her go, 1400m with speed on. Get back, balance up, and rip home. She’s defied the odds at all three starts this preparation so I can’t see why she can’t do it again.
From Kris Lees
Horse: Kind Words
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 7, Spring Stakes) Kind Words coasted to an easy win at Hawkesbury, albeit on a heavy track, just under two weeks ago. She raced at a high grade and it was good to get a maiden win with her. It wasn’t the weakest maiden, there was a bit of depth in the race I thought, and she put them away well. If she had every chance and got beaten it probably would be reassessed but it was always the plan to come here. I think it will be an advantage to have a soft draw (gate 1). She looks to get a nice run stalking the speed, there’s a little bit of pressure out wide, and a big spacious track will suit. Obviously now she’s jumping a few grades but it’s the right time to give her another opportunity at this level. She’s a nice filly and she could easily reach this grade.
Horse: Rustic Steel
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) He had a bit of bone bruising I’d call it, nothing too severe. He came into work in the autumn and we just weren’t happy with him so gave him a few months off. I’ve been really happy with him this time, I wasn’t surprised at all in his first-up run. He’s in good order. Unfortunately the barrier draw dictates he’ll be ridden similar again. I think he will be running well but it deflates our enthusiasm about him with the draw (gate 14).
From Joseph Pride
Horse: Coal Crusher
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) The blinkers go back on for The Hunter and he draws ideally in barrier two. He’s been there three times and run really good races at Newcastle, it’s a track that’s going to aid him to be at his best and it’s a good opportunity for him. He’s a nice horse and he has been set for this all along. His lead-ups have been good with the three runs so far and he is set to peak for this.
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) I thought he went good (first-up in the Choisir Hcp), he copped one significant bit of interference. I’m not happy with that barrier, he’ll still run because there should be good tempo on but I think he’s more a seven furlong horse. I don’t know that he’ll run a strong mile for me as he’s quite keen.
From James Cummings
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 1, Max Lees Classic) A lot to like about him but he’s learning to put it all together. He’s got scope, he’s got class about him and he moves well. He’s got a lot of pace about him, got a turn of foot. He’s stepping out to make his debut in a sharp race, but he’s a sharp horse.
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 1, Max Lees Classic) She’s another one of these Blue Points who is showing plenty early. She’s got a bit of growing to do, but she’s got natural speed and can show it. I can see her running a race, also.
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 4, NZB Insurance BM 78 Hcp) She ran her PB for the prep last time and we feel like she’s held that. She can reproduce it again, even though she has a bit of weight (60kg) to carry. She’s got to stretch it right out to seven furlongs, but she should give them something to chase.
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) Gravina rebounded from a failure at Flemington to run 3rd in The Hunter a year ago. The thing in Gravina’s favour is he’s a horse who has turned his form around quickly in the past. I expected more of the horse in the same race 12 months ago at Flemington and he disappointed me that day. He turned it around and produced a big effort for 3rd in The Hunter at his next start. He can prove to be a yo-yo horse, hopefully he can do that for us second-up this weekend. He did train well during the week, he looks well and is training great. He did come off a sustained campaign last time in work, so we’re hoping to see him get back into form down in the weights (53kg).
From Luke Pepper
Horse: Opal Ridge
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) Things haven’t gone exactly to plan for Opal Ridge this campaign. She probably raced a bit flat, she had a big lead up into the Kosciuszko and she probably just wasn’t at her best. She wasn’t terrible, facing some of the best mares in Australia. She had a bit of a bruised heel which wasn’t that bad to tell you the truth, obviously being a Kosciuszko it was well publicised, we put concussion plates on her which she still wears today… that wasn’t an issue on the day, she still raced extremely well. She never looked her normal self during the run so that’s why she’s on the back of a freshen up now into The Hunter, it looked an ideal target for her. She had a week out on the water walker, and we’ve got her back in and I couldn’t be happier with her, she seems a lot brighter and ready to go. She’s always been better when she’s back and off a good tempo and on a big track and it really should suit her there over the 1300 at Newcastle. Thought it looked a great target for her, it’s basically our home sort of city track, not too far down the road, if she produces her best she’s going to be right in the finish.
From Team Snowden
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) Mazu’s build up to the Everest was checkered to say the least, with wide barriers and an interrupted preparation. The addition of a nose roll to Mazu’s gear, with the pacifiers and cross over nose band coming off, seemed to work in his trial earlier this week. It’s something different, you’ve got to change something up. I did trial him in it the other day and I thought he trialled well. Nash (Rawiller) said he was perfect with it, we’re just trying to tweak something to get that bit more out of him. Nash understands horses, he had his first ride on him the other day and he told me a lot about Mazu that I knew already but that he didn’t know and he got the horse in one hit. That’s the sort of horseman he is. The horse hasn’t won for a while and they can lose that last 10 per cent focus, he just needs to win a race and hopefully he’ll get that opportunity. We think he will be in the first five or six comfortably, that’s where we want to see him. It should be able to give Nash a few scenarios, he was pretty adamant with what he said at the trials about what he wanted to do with him so we’ll just leave it to him.
Horse: King Of Sparta
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 8, The Hunter) He drew one from the outside in the 16 horse field and wound up finishing midfield in the Sydney Stakes on The Everest day. He’s been a grand performer for the stable, he never runs a bad race. He’s had a trial at Randwick (since the Sydney Stakes) so he’s had a little spin around. It sets up well for him, that’s his scenario the last 18 months to have four or five weeks and one trial so we’ve kept that formula. With a kinder draw (gate 8), expect the five-year-old to perform to his best given the ideal lead in to the race.
Horse: Ka Bling
Message: (Saturday, Newcastle Race 10, TAB Karaka Millions BM94 Hcp) He’ll meet Much Much Better on 2kg more favourable terms for their clash on October 21. He’s been around the money, he was a bit disappointing last start. It’s his time to be in because it’s his opportunity to win Saturday races, so depending on how he goes he might have a little freshen and come back in January.
From The Editor
Newcastle Race 4 – Portray
Newcastle Race 7 – Just In Time