By Gary Harley
Australia’s top jockey Hugh Bowman will make a rare appearance at a Newcastle non-carnival race meeting on Tuesday. Sydney’s premiership-winning jockey has accepted six rides on the seven-race program.
Bowman has three mounts for Chris Waller and one apiece for Kris Lees, Edward O’Rourke and Matthew Smith. The Lees-trained Reach For Heaven in the 1300 metre Class 2 Handicap appears to be the pick of Bowman’s mounts.
The four-year-old is a winner in his only start on the Beaumont track and his last start third placing at Rosehill on July 29 was full of merit. He was slowly away and raced keen in the middle stages.
Reach For Heaven chased hard in the straight to go down by 2.3 lengths. The form from the race was franked when the winner Arbeitsam and the runner-up The Pharaoh both were impressive winners at Rosehill on Saturday. Reach For Heaven bolted in first up from a spell on the Newcastle Course Proper on July 1 and he is at his top now after three runs this preparation.
Bowman’s three rides for Waller will be well fancied in their respective events. The trio consists of Merovee (race 2), a son of the great English galloper Frankel, Midnight Delight (race 5), and Naughty Thoughts (race 6). He will be aboard Edward O’Rourke’s Feringo in race 4 and Matthew Smiths stayer Vindex in the final event.
The Bjorn Baker-trained filly Songlike has bright prospects in the 1150 metre three-year-old Maiden. The filly is well placed under the set weight conditions and goes into the race with sound recent form.
Songlike has been narrowly beaten in her past two starts at Warwick Farm and Hawkesbury. Last start at Warwick Farm on August 2, she led to the latter stages when second. She was one of the favourites when unplaced in the Group 2 Sweet Embrace in February.
A shorter trip could see Central Coast mare It’s So Obvious return to the winner’s circle in the 1300 metre Fillies and Mares Class 2 Handicap. Trained by Greg McFarlane the mare has only been unplaced in one of her five starts and that was at Warwick Farm on July 29.
She has genuine speed and sat outside the leader but tired badly late over the 1500 metre trip. Back to 1300 metres on Tuesday It’s So Obvious will be hard to beat on a track where she has a win and a second from two starts.
Former Kiwi stayer Jagger, enjoying a successful preparation under the care of former Sydney school teacher John Steinmetz, is the one to beat in the final event a 2200 metre Class 1 and Maiden Plate.
Jagger after two solid placings over shorter trips on the Newcastle Course Proper, stepped up to the 2000 metre trip on the Beaumont track on July 27 and he outstayed a similar field. He is a strong stayer and the 2200 metres won’t be a problem.
Randwick filly Sweet Deal has impeccable form for a Maiden Plate, a race she will contest on Tuesday with Brenton Avdulla in the saddle. Earlier this year Sweet Deal finished a close third in the Group 3 Widden Stakes before a good second in the Inglis Classic.
She finished fourth behind Tulip in the Group 3 Magic Night. After a disappointing first up run at Warwick Farm on August 2, John Thompson will apply blinkers to the filly on Tuesday. Sweat Deal is a weighted special under the set weight conditions.