The third edition of the $1million The Hunter (1300m) on Saturday at Newcastle has attracted the classiest field in the races short history. The favourite, Lost And Running is the only horse so far to contest both The Everest and The Hunter and the wide barrier draw (17) has not dimmed the confidence of trainer Joh O’Shea “It’s a real nice race but Lost And Running has raced very well against Australia’s best in recent starts.
He has had knee surgery in the past and I can’t work him too hard but I couldn’t be happier with the horse heading into The Hunter. This horse is versatile, he has won three on good -rated tracks and three on rain affected tracks.
I want Lost And Running to go forward from that barrier and probably be in the front three or four. It is such a great spacious track Newcastle and you can sit three wide and win” O’Shea said.
Lost And Runnings form is outstanding. He was beaten a length by Eduardo in the Classique Legend and two starts back the gelding finished two lengths behind Nature Strip in The Everest. Hugh Bowman has the mount.
The import Top Ranked is having his first start for Annabel Neasham and he has won six form twelve with three placings in Europe. All of his victories have been over the ‘mile’ but he is unbeaten in five starts first up. Connections believe Top Ranked will be a ‘Doncaster’ contender in the Autumn. James McDonald fresh from a record breaking Melbourne Cup Carnival has accepted the mount.
Bandersnatch winner of eight from twenty resumes after a nice Rosehill trial. The gelding won the Civic Stakes and Winter Stakes before a spell. The Hunter has attracted a capacity field with emergencies. The main support race is the $300,000 Visit Karaka 2022, The Beauford (2300m). It is a wide open race with many chances.
Newcastle star apprentice Dylan Gibbons is riding the Waller trained Shared Ambition. It will be the 20 year old’s second ride for Australia’s leading trainer and he claims 3 kilograms. It is a huge drop in class for Shared Ambition as he has bumped into Think It Over in his past three starts. Think It Over beat Shared Ambition by a long head in the Group 2, The Hill Stakes on October 2.
The Group 3 New Zealand Bloodstock 3YO Spring Stakes (1600m) is wide open. The crack Newcastle gelding Contributingfactor faces his toughest test to date. The David Atkins trained three year old has won three from five and he has been highly impressive in winning his last two starts at Newcastle.
The NZB Airfreight Max Less Classic (900m) for two year old’s opens the ten race program and there is speed galore. Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Pierro filly Uncorked and Jason Coyle’s Vancouver’s Crown, have both won metropolitans trials.
It’s a cracking ten race program with the first at 12.20pm and then the last at 6.00pm.