By Ray Hickson
Black Magnum might not be the best horse Mark Newnham takes to Rosehill on Saturday but he’s certainly one horse the trainer is confident can come away a winner.
The improving four-year-old faces his biggest test in the Blue Datto Foundation Handicap (1100m) but he does it in conditions he relishes and on the back of an impressive first-up win.
Newnham said it’s hard to put a lid on Black Magnum just yet but as far as his immediate assignment goes he couldn’t be better suited.
“He’s probably a good open class sprinter on wet ground, hard to say he’s going to be any better than that but he is improving all the time,’’ he said.
“It’s a good race for him, especially with some sort of soft conditions he’s even better again.
“He was really good first-up, 1100m is probably his best trip and Robbie (Dolan) gets on with him well. There’s not much to dislike about him.’’
With Dolan’s claim Black Magnum will carry 52kg, an 8kg drop on his first-up win on the Kensington track on February 5, and easily the lightest weight he’s ever carried in a race.
The gelding opened $8 on Wednesday with TAB but on Friday was a firm $3.30 favourite.
Newnham expects Black Magnum to put himself into the race from an ideal draw and it’ll be up to the horse to be good enough.
“He can race somewhere in the first four and it looks a good race for him,’’ he said.
“He is one of the easiest horses to deal with in the stable. He’s the horse you never have to worry about, he’s just there. He eats and sleeps and works.’’
Newnham, of course, has his stable star Shadow Hero resuming in the Group 2 $400,000 Arrowfield Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and can’t fault the three-year-old ahead of his return.
He’s long said he expects to be a little vulnerable first-up then it’s full steam ahead into the Group 1 Randwick Guineas over the mile next month.
“I’m really happy with him, he is where he needs to be at this stage of his prep,’’ he said.
“He’s bigger and stronger, I thought his trials were very strong without blinkers. He’s in for a good prep.’’
Gimcrack Stakes winner Every Rose will have her game face on in the Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Silver Slipper (1100m) with the blinkers being applied for the first time.
Her Magic Millions run is a lot better than it looks on paper, ninth to Away Game beaten four lengths or so, given she was knocked over at the start and ran into further trouble through the race.
Every Rose is a $10 chance with TAB but Newnham said she’s there to run her best race.
“I’ve been more than happy with the way she is going, she does very well off these short breaks so she is going to need this run and another going into the Slipper,’’ he said.
Black Magnum wins at Kensington on February 5
“I haven’t been happy with her gate speed in the last couple of runs so I put the blinkers on. From where she’s drawn she’s going to need to hit the ground running and more than likely get outside Farnan.
“There’s nowhere to hide, the good thing about her is she’s a real old fashioned two-year-old. I’d be surprised if she doesn’t run well.”
Newnham said he will wait until race morning to decide if Splintex takes his place in the Able Doors Spark Of Life Handicap (1100m) with a lingering doubt over him in the soft to heavy ground.
That stemmed from his failure at Caulfield three weeks ago though Newnham said the circumstances there were not ideal.
“I’m not convinced he won’t handle soft ground, what he came up against the older day was rain on the day and that’s different going,’’ he said.
“I’m a bit forgiving of that but I will wait and see how the field and the weather hold up.’’