By Gary Harley
Rookie Warwick Farm trainer Mark Newnham is confident his recent acquisition Exclamation can win first-up for the three-year-old’s new owners on the Newcastle track on Thursday. Exclamation was formerly trained by John O’Shea for Godolphin from their Victorian base and all the gelding’s five starts have been on Victorian country tracks.
He was placed in his initial four starts at Moe, Mornington, (twice) and Geelong before he broke through for his only win at Cranbourne in November. Exclamation was subsequently sold to clients of Newnham’s at a Gold Coast sale.
The three-year-old has competed in two Warwick Farm barrier trials recently and he was successful in the second trial on April 7. Exclamation will run in a 1200 metre Benchmark 65 Handicap on Thursday, a race for apprentice riders only.
Mark Newnham [pictured left by Racing & Sports] said on Tuesday that Exclamation would race in blinkers at Newcastle: “The first four starts he had for Godolphin he raced without blinkers but the race he won at Cranbourne he wore blinkers. I trialled Exclamation without blinkers but they will go on for Thursday's race.
"I have had him for three months and I couldn’t be happier with him. He trialled nicely a couple of weeks ago and from the good barrier he will race handy and I am quietly confident that he can win. His apprentice rider Rachel King is a very talented rider and I was keen to book her for the ride. Rachel’s had two rides for me for a win and a second,” Newnham said.
The former jockey-turned trainer has only been training for 12 months and he has prepared 13 winners from 60 starters. Newnham has recently been granted 23 boxes at Randwick and he will operate from two venues.
Hawkesbury-trained Base Camp has put the writing on the wall with two recent narrow defeats at Newcastle and he will be at a short quote to break through in the 1300 metre Provincial and Country Maiden. Tommy Berry replaces the apprentices that have ridden the three-year-old in his past two starts.
Base Camp is a natural front-runner and he appears a standout after going down by three quarters of a length to Group 1 placegetter Whispered Secret on this track on March 25.
Former Kiwi galloper Bluetwentytwo, the subject of a plunge at Wyong last week when narrowly beaten, can atone in the 1400 metre Class 1 Handicap. The four-year-old had five starts in New Zealand for a win and two seconds before entering Kim Waugh’s Wyong stable.
He failed first-up at Newcastle on March 25 then on April 11 Bluetwentytwo was backed from $17 into $8.50 when beaten a head at Gosford. The longer trip is ideal and apprentice Nick Heywood will claim 2 kilograms.
Cessnock mare Bob’s Ticket will appreciate a sharp drop in class when she contests the 1400 metre fillies and mares Class 1 Handicap. Bob’s Ticket finished fifth in a much stronger race at Newcastle on April 8. She likes to lead and from barrier one and the claim for Rachel King points to the mare running well.
Bob’s Ticket is trained by former Australian soccer representative Amanda Langlar and the four-year-old is raced by former Maitland Rugby League Premiership winner Bob McLaughlin and his wife Val.