Gary Harley- 25.03.24

Lightly raced Central Coast three-year-old Gustav, narrowly beaten on debut at Hawkesbury on March 9, is set to go one better at the Wine Country Race Club meeting on Newcastle’s Beaumont track on Monday. The Sara Ryan-trained gelding will contest the CG&E Maiden Plate (1200m) with Keagan Latham in the saddle.

Gustav was heavily backed from $7.50 into $4.60 at Hawkesbury and would have won the 1100m maiden had he not shifted out abruptly inside the 200 metres.

He raced worse than midfield in a field of 14, and Latham had him in the clear halfway down the straight. Gustav made up many lengths before shifting out and went down by 0.42 of a length. The longer trip is ideal on Monday, and he can overcome a wide barrier (16).

Consistent Scone four-year-old Don’tcha Think can atone for a narrow defeat at Tamworth first-up when he steps out in the Country Boosted Benchmark 66 Handicap (1150m). He carried 62 kilograms at Tamworth and was gallant in defeat, going down by 0.60 of a length, albeit having every chance. Don’tcha Think was placed in his only start on this track and from the positive barrier he won’t be far off the speed.

Trainer Stephen Jones has placed the son of So You Think very well after purchasing him for clients at an Inglis yearling sale. Darryl “Digger” McLellan has the mount, and he was aboard when the gelding raced at Tamworth.

Newcastle mare Lovely Thoughts is set to continue on her winning way when she steps up in class to contest the Benchmark 58 Handicap (2100m). Trainer Jason Deamer has taken the four-year-old to the Mid North Coast for her past two starts and she has won effortlessly in both, at Taree and Tuncurry. Lovely Thoughts races on the speed and Ash Morgan, who won on the mare at Taree has the ride. Morgan was fourth in the NSW jockeys’ premiership with 82.5 winners for the season before Sunday’s racing.

Dylan Gibbons is riding at the meeting, and he teams up with boss Kris Lees for his only two mounts. Gibbons rides first starter Pisa Cake, an impressive trial winner, in the Fillies and Mares Maiden Plate (1200m). The daughter of Prized Icon was not extended to win a recent trial on this track. Gibbons, who completes his apprenticeship in July, will also ride Corvalist for Lees in the CG&E Maiden Plate (1200m). The four-year-old was placed in all four starts on country tracks last preparation and resumes after two trials.