IT was another “home town” victory of sorts which led a Provincial domination of yesterday’s Newcastle meeting transferred from Hawkesbury. Born and raised at Muswellbrook, the now Newcastle-based trainer Nathan Doyle won his second Muswellbrook Gold Cup (1500m) with only his second runner in the race. Having scored with Melbourne Group 1 placegetter and $51 outsider Petrology (Ash Morgan) in 2020, Doyle this time was successful in the “Big Dance Eligibility” Cup with his talented mare Overriding ($6). In the process, he registered his 250th career winner, and 44th so far this season following on from 59 the previous racing year. The Cup was to have been run at Muswellbrook on Friday, but the meeting was unable to proceed because of the wet conditions and the feature race was added to the Newcastle program.

Doyle had advised Racing NSW stewards that he wanted Overriding to be ridden further forward – and that occurred but not before an incident at the start when the mare jumped awkwardly and unbalanced her rider Ben Looker. Overriding tracked the favorite Russian Roni ($2.70), claimed him in the straight and quickly put the issue beyond doubt. She won decisively from Kinloch ($4.40), whose trainer Kris Lees had won the Cup previously with Pitt Street and Itz Lily, and Ita ($9.50). Overriding was a $35,000 purchase at the 2021 Adelaide Magic Millions yearling sale and has now raced 11 times for five wins and three placings, and earned just over $300,000 – with more to come. Doyle’s victory with the four-year-old daughter of Star Turn was one of six provincial winners on the nine-race card. Kinloch’s trainer Lees scored with Trajectile ($1.75 favorite) in the Provincial Maiden Plate (1500m) and Sailor ($4.80) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m). Andrew Gibbons rode his 450th winner for Lees, whilst stable apprentice Ben Osmond had the mount on Sailor, who appreciated a drop back in class after contesting Provincial-Midway Championship Qualifiers at Hawkesbury (March 9) and Kembla Grange (March 23).  Lightly-raced Pariah three-year-old Trajectile, a $200,000 yearling purchase in 2022, is a daughter of 2004 VRC Oaks (2500m) heroine Hollow Bullet, who was retired from breeding last year.

Wyong trainers Sara Ryan and Kristen Buchanan, and Kembla Grange’s Ross McConville also had Newcastle winners. Ryan won with Spicy Hotpot ($3.40 favorite) in the Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m), and Buchanan with Edge Of Reward ($6) in the Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1400m). Previously prepared by Nathan Doyle, the Calibre Racing Group-raced gelding joined Buchanan’s team this preparation, and was having his third start for his new trainer. Spicy Hotpot was Ryan’s 32nd career victory (19 this season), whilst Buchanan continued her excellent form of late by winning her 24th race this season, taking her to within six of a career 300. McConville’s Bully For You ($6.50) finished strongly to land the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) to provide him with his 20th career success. Hawkesbury apprentice Zac Wadick pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge on Torie’s Rose in the Maiden Plate (1300m), and was suspended from April 14 to 19, on which day he can resume. Following a midweek PMC Wild Card Qualifier meeting last Wednesday, Newcastle took up the Hawkesbury fixture and the course proper, following substantial rain on Friday, after being rated a “Heavy 9” at the 7.30am scratching deadline, was upgraded to a “Heavy 8” at 11.30am and a “Soft 7” at 2pm, once again underlining the track’s all weather prowess.

Story John Curtis, April 7, 2024 – Pics Bradley Photos