By Ray Hickson
Trainer Mark Newnham isn’t getting carried away with Black Magnum’s first-up demolition as a pointer to his chances under very different circumstances at Canterbury on Wednesday.
Newnham can't fault the win, of course, but has a small concern that the three-year-old’s impressive winning margin first-up was flattered by a couple of factors, namely a heavy track and an underperforming rival, so says he'll need his share of good fortune to go back-to-back.
Black Magnum is a clear $2.70 favourite in the Pluck @ Vinery Handicap (1100m) on the back of that three and a half length win at Warwick Farm two weeks ago.
“The favourite (Lashes) probably didn’t run to expectations and he’s been going really well, his trials have been fantastic and he’s really good on wet ground,’’ Newnham said.
“I expected he would run first or second in that race but his performance may have been exaggerated by a below par run by the favourite.’’
While the win was visually impressive the Punter’s Intelligence sectional data backs it up with his last 600m of 35.37 which was about five lengths faster than any of his rivals.
Black Magnum rose six points for that performance and with stable apprentice Robbie Dolan suspended Newnham has engaged Chris Williams to reduce the gelding’s weight by 3kg to 58.5kg.
That’s still a lift of 1.5kg and he’s faced with a much firmer surface plus a barrier near the outside.
Black Magnum wins at Warwick Farm on July 10
“I needed to offset that with a claim and I thought I’d give Chris a go, he’s riding winners, he won’t carry a lot of dead weight and it brings him back to a weight where he can win,’’ Newnham said.
“It’ll be a little bit tricky for him in the first half of the race because there looks to be a fair bit of speed but if he can sit anywhere from third to sixth with a bit of cover I’d expect him to be in the finish.’’
The gelding has won three of his eight starts and Newnham said since he’s returned from knee surgery at the end of last preparation he’s taken to working on Randwick’s new polytrack.
“He does all his work on there, it’s a good forgiving surface and he’s never moved better,’’ he said.
Newnham saddles up two pre-post favourites at Canterbury and he’s expecting Knowitall Jack ($3.40) to relish the step up in distance in the Canterbury League Club Handicap (1550m).
With the claim for Williams, the gelding drops 5kg on his first-up third behind Helga over 1300m at Warwick Farm where he was outsprinted on the heavy ground before closing off again late.
“I thought he needed a step up in distance, the only thing he may be lacking is blinkers but I didn’t want to go up in distance and blinkers in one go,’’ Newnham said.
“It can be a negative and they can over race.
“I think 1550m at Canterbury is not a taxing trip so where he’s drawn, with the weight he’ll carry, he should be able to dominate the race in front and be hard to run down.’’
Meanwhile, one of Newnham’s stable stars Nakeeta Jane will trial over 900m at Warwick Farm this Friday ahead of a likely return in the Show County Quality (1200m) on August 24.
The likes of Deep Sea, Final Award and Greysful Glamour are pencilled in for trials at Randwick next week while Shadow Hero and Scarlet Dream are a couple of weeks behind them.