Successful Wyong trainer Damien Lane is hopeful his Polytrack Provincial Championships aspirant Bombasay ($11 on TAB) can cause an upset in Saturday’s Newcastle Qualifier over 1400m.
The Newcastle Qualifier is the first of five at the provincial circuits, with Gosford, Wyong, Hawkesbury and Kembla Grange staging their heats through March.
The three placegetters in all Qualifiers progress to the $500,000 Final at Randwick on April 10.
Bombasay was beaten out of a place in the 2020 Newcastle Qualifier when trained by Kris Lees.
During the 2020 winter the five-year-old was transferred to Lane’s stables and under the former Coonamble trainer’s care he had three starts during the spring.
He won the Wyong Springtime Stakes on Cup Day on September 4. Second-up Bombasay was beaten half a length on the Kensington Track and in his last start before a spell he led all the way to win at Randwick on The Everest Day on October 17.
Bombasay beat smart sprinter Trumbull in a Wyong barrier trial on February 4. He has had 14 starts for five wins and six placings and Digger McLellan has the mount this weekend.
Lane discussed his galloper’s prospects on Thursday: “Jason Collett has ridden Bombasay in all of his three starts for me and he travelled to Wyong to trial him three weeks ago.
"He likes this horse a lot and he was happy with the trial and so was I - 1400 metres first-up with only one trial is a gamble but I have faith in him.
"He has had a jump out at Wyong over 1000 metres and he is fit enough. Just the same, Bombasay will improve plenty with this run under his belt.
"The barrier is not ideal but these heats are normally run at a good tempo and hopefully Digger can get cover. If he runs a place he is in the Final and if he doesn’t place, he will attempt to qualify in one of the other heats,” Lane said.
It is a wide-open race with Kris Lees’s Animate a $5 equal favourite and Bombasay in double figures. James Cummings will send five horses to Newcastle on Saturday with his most fancied pair in the opening two races.
In Flanders ($4.40) runs in the 1200m Newcastle MBA Apprentice Schemes Maiden Plate and Athelric ($2.15 fav) steps out in the 900m All Steel Sheds Two-Year-Old Maiden.
In Flanders has been runner-up in her past two starts at Warwick Farm and Gosford and she has drawn perfectly.
Athelric is yet to be placed, however the colt was only beaten 2.8 lengths behind Shaquero in the Group 3-Breeders' Plate in October.
He finished fourth behind one of the Golden Slipper favourites, Stay Inside at Randwick last start. He is very quick and has drawn perfectly. Christian Reith rides both horses.
Richard Litt’s Moremi ($2.80 fav) in the 1500m Master Builders Insurance Brokers Maiden and Paul Perry’s Saquon ($2.70 fav) in the 1600m Master Builders Association Of NSW Class 1 Handicap both have bright prospects.