By Gary Harley
Newcastle-based jockey Aaron Bullock is on target for a century of winners for the season and has another attractive book of rides at Newcastle this Saturday. The 27-year-old from Singleton is enjoying a stellar season with 78 winners despite taking a two-month break early in the season.
Bullock’s most successful season was in 2016/17 when he rode 55 winners. Since teaming up with Kris Lees his riding has gone from strength-to-strength despite rarely tipping the scales under 56 kilograms. On Saturday Bullock has five mounts, including three for Lees.
The speedy Rebel Cry has bright prospects in the opening event - a 900 metre three-year-old maiden. The filly has genuine speed and was run down late in her only start on this track in February. Rebel Cry won a recent Gosford barrier trial.
Bullock rides Lees promising stayer So You Merge in the 1885 metre Benchmark 68 Handicap. The mare has won three from eight and she was an impressive last start winner at Scone.
Brabinger makes up the third runner for the Lees-Bullock combination in the 1200 metre Maiden Handicap. The colt is at double-figure odds on debut. Bullocks’ other rides are the well-fancied Kanguru in the 1400 metre Benchmark 69 Handicap. The leading jockey is confident that he can ride a winner or two.
“Rebel Cry is my best ride. She is fast and the 900-metre trip is ideal for her first up. The filly went well in a recent trial and I think she has come back a better filly this time in.
"So You Merge has won two from three this prep and she has come a long way since I won on her in Tamworth in October. Kanguru is ready to win after his close second at Wyong recently. The other pair Skaldak and Brabinger are rough chances.
"I have a good book at the Tamworth Cup Meeting on Sunday. I am confident about Royal Tudors’ prospects in the Cup,” Bullock said today.
Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller has 13 runners at Newcastle and he could train half the winners on the eight-race program.
Metamorphic will be an odds-on favourite in the 1400 metre Maiden Plate. She has been placed in three Metropolitan starts. Waller's pair Youngstar and Miss Shanti will dominate betting in the 1885 metre Benchmark 68 Handicap. They're both last start winners and Youngstar will appreciate the longer trip and spacious track.
Blazeray looks the best of the former Kiwi trainer’s quartet in the 1200-metre Maiden Handicap. He has been disappointing in his last two starts, however, he placed well at Warwick Farm and Newcastle in March.
The Waller trio, Play, Raw Emotion and Via Veneto will contest the final event the 1400-metre Benchmark 72 Handicap and all three are last start winners.
Another powerful Sydney stable, Peter and Paul Snowden have a nice filly All Too Free in the 1400 metre Fillies and Mares Maiden. The three-year-old will be a short-priced favourite after a solid performance first up in a strong race at Rosehill on April 2.