By Gary Harley
Two former New Zealand gallopers which have shown exemplary form since entering Australian stables are set to clash in Friday weeks (March 9) time-honoured Group 3 $150,000 Suez Newcastle Newmarket (1400m).
Mark Newnham confirmed on Tuesday that his brilliant Carrington Stakes winner Lanciato will definitely run in the Newmarket. Kris Lees told yours truly on Tuesday that his New Zealand Group 1 winner Sound Proposition would resume in the Newmarket.
Lanciato won two moderate races in New Zealand before joining Newnham’s stables in the Autumn of 2016. Lanciato has a dislike for wet tracks and in his initial five starts in Australia he struck wet tracks, although placing twice at Rosehill. After victories at Rosehill and Hawkesbury in early 2017 Newnham spelled the gelding.
Lanciato has been devastating in his last two starts. He came from last at the 400 metres before mowing down a classy Benchmark 94 field at Randwick on January 6. Three weeks later he came from the tail of the field to race past a field of Group horses to win the listed Rosehill Carrington Stakes. On returning to scale after the Carrington, Newnham declared that the Newcastle Newmarket would be the five-year-olds next start.
The gelding had a nice quiet trial at Rosehill on Tuesday (February 27) and Newnham said after the trial “Bring on the Newcastle Newmarket”.
“I can’t have Lanciato any fitter and all we need is a dry track. This horse hates wet tracks and his record indicates his last six starts have been on dry tracks for four wins and two placings.
Rachel King rides him so well and she will ride him at Newcastle. He has to be ridden quiet and settle in the second half of the field. The spacious Newcastle track and the 1400 metre trip are ideal” Newnham said.
Sound Proposition won the Group 1 Easter Stakes at Ellerslie in April 2016. After failing in the Group 1 Doomben Cup last May, he was transferred to Lees. The six-year-old won his first two starts for Lees at Randwick before a luckless second in the Newcastle Cameron Handicap in September. Sound Proposition finished a close fifth behind Happy Clapper in the Epson before a fourth in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley. He has had a couple of recent barrier trials.
“Sound Proposition is ready to win boldly first up and the Newmarket on his home track is a nice race for him. I nominated him for the Gosford trials on Wednesday and I will make a decision in the morning on whether he trials or not. His Cameron Handicap run on his home track was full of merit” Lees said on Tuesday.
Chris Waller has nominated a number of his Group horses for the Newcastle Newmarket. The Newcastle Newmarket was first run in 1955 and has been won by top sprinters such as Foresight, Skellatar, Ricochet, Manawapoi, Manuan, Ricochet Rosie, Secret Savings, Bezeal Bay, Platinum Scissors, Patezza, Laser Hawk and Happy Clapper. Secret Savings (1997) and Patezza (2005) completed the Newcastle Newmarket - Doncaster Handicap double.
March is a very busy month for the Newcastle Jockey Club with four race meetings on the magnificent Newcastle Racecourse. Easter Saturday March 31 the NJC will host the Newcastle Provincial Qualifier. A Calcutta on the Newcastle Newmarket will be held at the racecourse following the Beauford Club Luncheon the day before the Newmarket.