All roads lead to Newcastle this Friday for running of the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup! With the Cameron Handicap and Tibbie Stakes also featuring on the program, a bumper crowd is expected at beautiful Broadmeadow!
Newcastle race 5
Spangler looked the winner first-up at Rosehill. After his recent outing, the Starspangledbanner gelding strips fitter, and he will appreciate the step out to 1500m. His second-up record is too good to dismiss, and the handicapper has given him all the favours. From barrier one, he can stalk the speed, and if he can rail like a greyhound on straightening, he can fight out the finish. This is his acid test!
Luncies can bounce back after a disappointing last-start performance at the Sunshine Coast. The Iffraaj gelding was holding his form prior, and his best performance would see him prominent in this company. Damien ‘The Goat’ Oliver takes the ride, and the Kris Lees polish must be respected. He can win if he can recapture his mojo and overcome the carpark draw. Take on trust.
Skyman will start favourite after a consistent campaign to date. The Mukhadram gelding will appreciate the significant drop in class, and he traditionally races well at this stage of his campaign. The veteran galloper can jump and cross the field from the tricky gate, and if he can find the bunny unchallenged, he will look the winner as they run for home. Father time and the allocated weight are his biggest challenges.
Suggested Bet: Spangler @ $7.50
Newcastle race 6
Wollombi is ready to win! Both runs this preparation have caught the eyes of punters, and she has been well-found in betting since markets opened. The Extreme Choice mare has been screaming out for the 1400m, and I expect her to peak third-up from a spell on Friday. From barrier eleven, she will drift back and watch the race unfold, and if she is within striking distance of the peloton as they run for the doctor, she will blow them away late. The long Newcastle home straight plays into her favour.
Mirra View was an impressive last-start winner at Wyong. The More Than Ready mare looks dangerous jumping from a middle gate, and I suspect she has the fitness edge on most of her opposition. The Snowden-trained commodity races well at Broadmeadow, and she finds her pet distance. The length of her campaign could come against her.
Banana Queen is ready to strike. Her autumn preparation was first-class, and she has been good without winning during her spring assault. The So You Think mare is a specialist at the trip, and she looks well placed in this company. The 55kg is a luxury, and gate five will provide plenty of options. She needs to convert encouraging performances into victories.
Suggested Bet: Wollombi @ $3.80
Newcastle race 7
Hosier is ready for the step out in distance. He has been racing well in his first preparation for his new stable, and he gets his chance to claim a very winnable Group 3 event. His win two starts back at Randwick was first-class, and if he can get some cover in the run from the horrible draw, he can figure in the finish. His fate may be decided during the early stages of the race.
Cleveland will start favourite despite jumping from the Merewether beach carpark. The Camelot entire will appreciate the significant drop in grade, and he is a winner second-up previously. His international form reads exceptionally for this event, and his first-up performance at Randwick put the writing on the wall for a big spring preparation. I would prefer to support his case third-up from a spell over a longer trip.
Bois D’argent is knocking on the door! The Toronado gelding has hardly missed a placing all preparation, and he will thrive stepping out to the 2300m. The Annabel Neasham-trained seven-year-old can roll forward from the middle gate and make his own luck, and if he can pinch some cheap sectionals in transit, he will give a good sight. His recent winning record is the primary concern.
Suggested Bet: Hosier @ $5.00
Newcastle race 8
#5 Alicia Roma
Alicia Roma looks like one of the better bets on a tricky program. The talented Your Song mare has an excellent first-up record and always races well over the 900m in the Hunter. From barrier two, she will ping the gates, and if she can take up her favourite role as race leader, she will lead them in a merry dance. Hard to toss!
Bel Academy is over the odds. The Bel Esprit gelding was a brilliant winner fresh at Grafton, and he was luckless in a hot form race second-up at Eagle Farm. From barrier eight, he will sit outside the lead, and if he doesn’t spend his pennies too early, he can figure in the finish. The massive class rise is the primary concern.
Zoukerino will have supporters after producing a string of impressive barrier trials. The Snitzel gelding makes his debut for the mighty Maher and Eustace camp, and he has been well supported since markets opened. The lightly-raced four-year-old looks well placed in this company, and I suspect the stable will have him cherry-ripe for a first-up tilt. Big watch!
Suggested Bet: Alicia Roma @ $2.80