Gary Harley – Herald – 11.01.24

James Cummings will send two lightly raced, talented three-year-olds to Thursday’s Newcastle Jockey Club meeting – their first of the year, and the stables gun apprentice Zac Lloyd will ride both geldings. The meeting is back on the course proper, and the first of Cummings’ two representatives Hanau is second up from a spell after a close second on resuming at Randwick on Boxing Day.

Hanau has drawn midfield in a competitive Yarraman Park Stud Super Maiden Plate (1200m). First up at Randwick he drifted back to near last before Lloyd let him loose and he sprinted quickly from the 400m to hit the front 200 metres out. Hanau raced greenly from thereon and was run down by Fire Tribe to go down by .28 of a length. His previous two starts in the winter included a narrow defeat at Kembla and he will be fitter second up. The Snowden stables Xidaki was a close third in the race Hanau finished second in at Randwick, and he has drawn perfectly and is a big threat to the Godolphin galloper.

Cummings’ Shako resumes from a spell in the Davali TBS Classic Yearlings Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m), and he has outstanding credentials. The three-year-olds only two starts were on this track in June. He was runner up, 3/4 of a length from the smart Sounds Of Heaven when he was strong late over the 900m course. Shako then won a 900m Maiden on this track before a spell. He was never off the bit when trialing nicely at Rosehill and Warwick Farm indicating he is ready to win first up.

Local trainer Mark Minervini has three good chances at the meeting with track specialist Super in the final event, the Hungerford Hill Wines Benchmark 64 Handicap (1500m), and the speedy Toyger in the opening event, the Lees Racing Provincial 2&3-year-old Maiden Plate (900m). King’s Duty runs in the Coastline Pool And Spa Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m).

Super has won six races on this track and is a winner over this trip on this track. The 8-year-old finished down the track in his first two starts this campaign on metropolitan tracks, but he showed a glimpse of form when a close second at Wyong in a much shorter race on January 6. Talented apprentice Zac Wadick had his first ride on Super at Wyong, and his 3kg claim is gold in this race.

Toyger has been placed in four of nine starts, including three from five on this track. The drop back to 900m is ideal because he tired after leading when unplaced over 1100m at Gosford on New Years Eve. Alysha Collett, enjoying a successful season, rides the son of Lonhro for the first time and he has a lovely barrier.

King’s Duty had every chance when a well beaten fourth second up on the Beaumont track on Boxing Day however, first up on the Beaumont track he led to the shadows of the post when beaten a head by Sydney Bowler, one of the favorites for Saturday’s Magic Millions Guineas on the Gold Coast.

Expect a sharp improvement from the Nathan Doyle trained Dunaloce in the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sales Jan 28 4yo& Up Mares Maiden Handicap (1400m). Formerly interstate with Phillip Stokes, the mare was placed at Newcastle first up in November after a tough run, three wide with no cover. The mare tailed off last start at Gosford, but since won a trial easily at Wyong on December 15. Importantly blinkers and a tongue tie go on for this race.