Newcastle’s two largest stables, the Lees and the Perry establishments, both trained a winner on the seven-race program at Cessnock on Monday. Lees’ New Zealand bred 3-year-old Sir Winkle kicked favourite punters off on the right leg when he led throughout to win the opening event the XXXX Gold Maiden Plate (1570m). It was a gutsy win as the $1.60 favourite was pressured up front for 600 metres and he fought hard when challenged in the straight. Kris Lees season tally has reached 120 with only six months and four days of the season completed. Sir Winkles’ jockey Andrew Gibbons has ridden 83 winners for the season.
Perry’s 4-year-old Titus ended a frustrating run of minor placings when he led all the way to win the final event the Bill Benson Benchmark 58 Handicap (1350m). Titus went into the race with a solitary win and twelve placings from sixteen starts. He was bred and raced by Perry’s daughter in law Christie, who was on track with husband Nathan to cheer the winner home. Shaun Guymer was aboard the winner.
The heavily backed Wyong mare Ondo Pasa provided jockey Grant Buckley with the first of a winning double when she won the Peden’s Hotel Benchmark 58 Handicap (1150m). Ondo Pasa overcame a slow start to finish strongly to grab victory in the shadows of the post. 82-year-old Stan Thomas owns and trains the winner, which was backed from $6.50 to $3.70. The win took Ondo Pasa’s prizemoney to $97,600.
Buckley’s other winner was the Bjorn Baker trained Super Cyclone in the Cessnock Leagues Club Maiden (1150m). The filly was resuming from a spell on the back of a recent Warwick Farm trial win.
Wauchope 3-year-old Jumper Leads was another heavily backed favourite to salute. He was backed from $4.20 to $2.50 in the Yarraman Park Class 1 Handicap 900m and he was simply too fast. Apprentice Mollie Partridge rode Jumper Leads for her boss Colt Prosser. A five-length winner on debut at port Macquarie in October the gelding hunted up along the rail to lead from soon after the start. He was challenged all the way but was strong to the line scoring by a length.
Rugenbrau, named after a swiss beer, was impressive in the Cessnock Advertiser Class 2 (1570m). Brett Partelle’s four-year -old was given the run of the race by Bobby Elissa and he finished too well to win by half a length.
Warwick Farm trainer Garry Neal has a good strike rate at Cessnock and his lone runner Pulang Pula was untroubled to lead all the way in the East Cessnock Bowling Club Maiden (1350m). It was the winners second start since joining Neal’s stable and he was ridden to instructions by Muswellbrook apprentice Mikayla Weir.
Cessnock race again on Monday February 18.