Gary Harley – Herald – 15.06.24

Legendary Newcastle trainer Paul Perry enjoying another successful season will saddle up his short course specialist Curl Curl in The IPD Race Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m) at Newcastle on Saturday, and the ultra-consistent three-year-old appeals as the best bet of the day. Curl Curl has a win and four placings from six career starts, and the son of Winning Rupert has had four starts over the Newcastle 900m for a win and three placings.

The gelding sprinted quickly in the straight to beat subsequent Newcastle winner Godelba first up at Newcastle by 2.82 lengths on April 24. Second up on May 25 at Newcastle he enjoyed a nice trail and loomed as the winner when he joined the leader Villa Treville 100m out but was narrowly beaten. Perry has booked in form apprentice Zac Wadick to ride Curl Curl on Saturday and his 2kg claim reduces the gelding’s impost to 58kg – 1kg less than last start.

Wadick will also ride the speedy Hawkesbury colt Cryptonic in the opening event the SAL, Lighting a Smarter Future Maiden Handicap (900m). After two impressive trial wins the colt debuted in an 1100m Hawkesbury maiden on a Heavy 10 track, and after leading he finished second 0.29 of a length from the winner. In his only other start Cryptonic was backed from $2.10 into $1.65 at Hawkesbury again over 1100m and he carried 60kg from a wide barrier. After sharing the lead, the three-year-old laid in down the straight and was beaten 2.41 lengths. On Saturday he carries 57.5kg after the claim and the 200m shorter trip is a positive.

Gosford mare Ain’t She Swell can break through in the Klein Tools Australia 4yo & Up Maiden Plate (1500m). She has been placed in three of five starts and the mare had no luck when an unplaced $2.70 favourite at Taree on May 27. Ain’t She Swell was three wide with no cover throughout the race. The mare was placed in much stronger races at Gosford and Hawkesbury in November and she will be fitter after two runs this preparation. Andrew Gibbons, her regular jockey goes back on Saturday, and she draws well.

California Sunrise, a lightly raced filly from the Snowden stable will be hard to beat in the Schneider Max9 Class 1 Handicap (1400m). Her first up run at Hawkesbury on May 30 was outstanding as she was near last in a field of eleven on the home turn before unleashing a powerful finishing burst to win by close to a length running away. The filly has only had three starts and after a debut placing at Warwick Farm in April 2023, she finished a close fourth at Hawkesbury eleven months later. California Sunrise will appreciate the long straight, and Christian Reith has the mount.

The talented Herb has his first start for Kembla trainer Kerry Parker in the Pierlite Wombat Port Stephens Cup Provincial Benchmark 68 Handicap (1250m) and he is in great form. Two starts back on a heavy track he was heavily backed when coming from near last at Kembla to win by 1 ½ lengths. Last start on the same track Herb was a clear last a dozen lengths off the leader at the 800m before storming home in to third place 1.60 lengths from the winner. Reith has ridden the five-year-old in his past two starts, and he has the mount on Saturday from a nice barrier.

Mitchell Beer’s consistent three-year-old Scissor Me Timbers is well placed in the Legrand Excel Life Smart Midway 3yo Maiden Handicap (1400m).