Gary Harley – Herald – 08.03.24

The Newcastle Jockey Clubs first black type race of the year the Group 3 Horsepower Newcastle Stakes (1400m) will be held on Friday and a high quality field of sixteen have accepted.

The Snowden family have won the race three times with Falaise, Artistry and Bells and on Friday their exciting 5- year- old Unspoken resumes from a spell with the $3 million Doncaster Mile his mission this preparation. Unspoken, struck a purple patch of form during the Spring, stringing together four wins on the trot including the $2 million Five Diamonds at Rosehill on November 11. Following that win the Snowden’s sent the son of Territories to the paddock and his only probable appearance since was in a Warrick Farm trial on February 12.

The gelding was never off the bit cruising down the outside under a hold from race jockey Tom Sherry, to finish two lengths behind winner Zennzella. Peter Snowden was confident Unspoken would adjust himself well on Friday when I contacted him after acceptances on Wednesday. “This horse had a great preparation in the Spring and this is the time to take the next step. We only gave him the one trial and he was impressive under no pressure. He has done plenty of work at home and he is fit enough. I expect him to be in the first half dozen during Friday’s race. Unspoken will head to the George Ryder after Newcastle and hopefully The Doncaster Mile” Snowden said. The stable have five runners and apart from Unspoken, Peter thought Impulsivity in race 6 was his best.

Ciaron Mahers well performed 4 year old Jimmysstar will have plenty of admirers in the Newcastle Stakes. There is a massive boom on the Kiwi bred which has won five  of seven starts with two second placings. He joined Maher’s stable after New Zealand wins at Wanganui and Hastings and he should have an unbeaten record in Australia. Jimmysstar had easy wins at Bendigo and Cranbourne in November and he was $1.65 when he resumed with an easy Caulfield win on February 3. Last start he was controversially beaten half a length in a Listed Race at Flemington when a $1.26 favourite. He has the limit weight on Friday and has barrier one with Tyler Schiller to ride.

Kris Lees has won the Newcastle Stakes in four of the past five years and he trained the runner up last year. His winners were Princess Posh (2019), Special Reward (2020), Gem Song (2021) and Wandabaa (2022) while Gem Song was runner up to Cross talk last year. Lees has five acceptors in Friday’s Newcastle Stakes- Loch Eagle , Rustic Steel, Ucalledit, Acquitted and Kinloch.

Rustic Steel and Loch Eagle are the best performed of the team and the pair go to the race fresh. Rustic Steel has won a Gosford, The Coast, Scone Cup and Big Dance and he looked good winning a recent trial easily on the Beaumont track. Loch Eagle won the Group 3 Ingham at Randwick in December.

The Brad Widdup trained Piplup should atone for an unlucky last start Wyong defeat when she contests the opening event, the Novocastrian Electrical Provincial Maiden Plate (1600m). The filly will appreciate the spacious track and long straight after a fast finishing placing at Wyong after being last at the 800. She is well weighted with stable apprentice Zac Wadick’s 3 kg claim.

The New Sinatra from the O’Shea stable has bright prospects in the Bella Group Services Maiden Plate (1200m). He was heavily backed when placed on debut at Gosford on February 24 after an impressive trial win. The 3 -year-old will appreciate the firmer track and longer trip.