By Ray Hickson
Split Enz famously sung that history never repeats but jockey Darryl McLellan wants to believe that it can for him at Newcastle on Saturday.
Back in 2000 during the Sydney Olympics racing was moved out of Sydney and Newcastle hosted its only stand alone metropolitan meeting with the centrepiece being the Newcastle Cup, a Group 2 race at that point in time.
McLellan, who was 29 then, won the race on a horse called Silent Impact and he probably thought he’d have a nice piece of history to himself until this Saturday's new race day was conceived.
The Newcastle-based hoop, now 49, doesn’t have a ride in the day’s feature $1m Pages Event Hire Hunter but he gives himself a good chance of taking out the Group 3 NZB Spring Stakes (1600m) on in-form filly Bright Rubick.
“I remember that Cup day, it was a terrific day, the Newcastle people really got behind it and supported it,’’ McLellan said.
“I think it is going to be like that again, it is going to be a big day, the Novocastrian people seem to get behind these things.
“They have every chance of making it a success with a $1 million race on, and it’d be nice to win a feature race again.
“I’ve only got the one ride on the day so I only have the one chance at it.’’
Bright Rubick has been a revelation since she moved from Bjorn Baker to the Scone stable of John Ramsey winning all three starts by comfortable margins and earning a shot at a Group race.
The filly was thrown in the deep end somewhat early in her career but McLellan, buoyed by coming off a Group 1 Victorian Oaks placing last week, believes the timing is right to step up.
“All her wins have been at Muswellbrook but she can’t do any more than how she won, she’s won them well and she’s improved every time I rode her,’’ he said.
“We’ll know where she is going after this run. She has drawn well and should get a nice run just in behind them and get every chance to do her best.
“She jumped to 1500m the other day and she handled it really well, her best run was that run, and she is progressing nicely.’’
There’s been little respect for Bright Rubick’s winning streak in the market, she’s a $19 chance with TAB behind the unbeaten Rule The World ($2.60).
Bright Rubick wins at Muswellbrook on November 3
It’s the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained gelding that McLellan regards as clearly the horse to beat but warns not to undersell his filly.
“I don’t think she will be that far away. I said to John I think she can win a three-year-old Saturday race,’’ he said.
“That’s basically what she is in at the moment, even though it is a Group 3, unless there’s one that is going to go right on with the job like Gai’s horse which could well do.
“But looking at what’s on paper there at the moment I think she will be right in it.’’