By Gary Harley
Tamworth trainer Melanie O’Gorman is confident her talented three-year-old Suncraze can break a frustrating run of second placings when he makes his provincial debut at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday.
Suncraze will step out in a Class 1 1200 metre Handicap with Grant Buckley in the saddle. The gelding kicked off his career with a last to first, five length Maiden win at Dubbo on a heavy track in August.
He was spelled immediately and resumed with a fast finishing second at Tamworth in November and then another strong second at Scone on Christmas Eve. Suncraze has untapped potential and O’Gorman sent him to the paddock for another spell after a brilliant barrier trial win at Armidale.
Suncraze resumed with a cracking second on Scone Cup day on May 12 after racing wide. Three weeks back the three-year-old turned in another eye catcher when he came from a mile back for yet another second in a Randwick Highway Class 3 Handicap. The winner Clipper is very smart and Suncraze took plenty of ground off him.
The Tamworth sprinter drops sharply in grade but will carry four kilograms more on Saturday. O’Gorman, herself a talented horsewoman who breaks in and pre-trains on the Erin Park property at Tamworth she leases, heads to Newcastle on Saturday with high hopes.
“Suncraze has so much raw talent and he is still maturing after five starts. His run in the Randwick Highway was outstanding and I would have taken him back from another Highway at Rosehill this Saturday but the race is too far for Suncraze.
"He is a horse that must have his runs spaced and I am keen to run him in a 1400 metre three-year-old race at Warwick Farm in three weeks’ time. It is three weeks since he raced at Randwick so he had to have another run before we went to Warwick Farm and the Newcastle race fits perfectly.
"He is a back marker but he has a powerful finishing burst and he will relish the spacious Newcastle track. Suncraze has won on a heavy track so a wet track won’t be a problem. This horse will get a mile eventually,” O’Gorman said.
Kris Lees is enjoying his most successful season in 14 years of training will saddle up seven gallopers at the Newcastle meeting. The three-year-old Tawfiq Boy in the 900 metre Class 2 Handicap appears to be Lees best chance. The gelding hasn’t raced for two months but he races well fresh and he should be in the box seat from barrier one.
Tawfiq Boy had a nice hit out for this first up run, when he finished strongly in a recent Wyong trial. Following a winning double at Taree on Thursday, Lees season tally of winners stands at 133.
Oakfield General a three-year-old bred and raced by the Mayor of Port Stephens Bruce Mackenzie has bright prospects in the 1400 metre Maiden Plate. Oakfield General has raced twice for a second on debut at Gosford on May 4 and a close fourth at Newcastle three weeks ago.
The gelding has the advantage of the rails barrier and he will race on the pace. Wyong trainer Damien Lane prepares Oakfield General which will be ridden by talented South African apprentice Jean Van Overmeire. The latter apprenticed to Bjorn Baker has ridden a string of winners since arriving in Australia. Mackenzie is also enjoying a purple patch with his ‘Oakfield’ horses.