By Ray Hickson
It’s been a deliberate move from trainer Mark Newnham to hold the promising Diamond Thunder back from the spring peak hoping it pays dividends during the summer.
The three-year-old makes an October cameo in the Listed $200,000 Southern Cross Group Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday as he builds towards the Magic Millions.
“I wanted to give him a decent break after Queensland with Magic Millions in mind because he’s a gelding it’s all about prizemoney for him,’’ Newnham said.
“This race will keep him ticking over until December when there’s a few races for him.
“I couldn’t leave him out any longer so I had this race in mind then he’ll have a freshen up in the stable.’’
Diamond Thunder made his debut as a colt on Boxing Day and while not disgraced Newnham made the decision to geld him and he wound up his two-year-old season with a Listed win among three wins and a third.
That Listed win at Doomben on June 1 was over California Zimbol who has since posted a stakes win of her own.
Newnham said Diamond Thunder heads into the Crowley having done plenty of work, he had his first trial in early September then resurfaced two weeks ago for his second.
“He is pretty forward, he’s still a bit wintry in his coat but he is fit enough to win,’’ he said.
The gelding was a $5 chance on Thursday in the TAB Brian Crowley market.
Newnham is rapt with drawing the inside alley as it gives jockey Josh Parr plenty of options.
“He is a quick beginner, he can lead or take a sit,’’ he said.
“There looks to be a fair amount of pace but if they hesitate on an 8m rail on a firm track he won’t be scared to lead.’’
Newnham said Diamond Thunder would likely lead to the Wyong Magic Millions in December for his next start or could head straight to Queensland.
Stablemate Final Award showed a return to form at his third run back when he attacked the line to run second behind El Mo at Warwick Farm earlier this month.
Diamond Thunder runs second in a Randwick trial on October 14
The trainer said race tempo and track pattern will be crucial in the Daily Press Handicap (1500m) and hopes Final Award ($15) can now hold form though he can’t put his finger on why it took a couple of runs.
“Robbie (Dolan) gets on well with him and he might have needed a run or two to get to his top,’’ he said.
“He has trained on well and is drawn to get a good run. He is a horse with not much barrier speed so when he draws inside he can be a couple of lengths closer.
“If they can run on he will run well but a lot of that will depend on how the track plays.’’