Gary Harley – Herald – 15.10.22

The Newcastle Jockey Club’s Jungle Juice Cup meeting on Saturday has attracted 149 acceptors, and therefore there will be ten races on the program. Brad Widdup has accepted with two of the main chances in the cup, Cross the Rubicon, and Short Shorts – however the latter is an unlikely starter.  The Cup, worth $50,000 is a wide-open affair with many chances and the NJC is wrapped with the quality of the capacity field, with the Cup to be run under new conditions this year.

Cross the Rubicon is a lightly raced five-year-old with a liking for the Newcastle track where he has won two of three starts, and he has also won three form six on soft going. Earlier this year Cross the Rubicon won three on the trot at Newcastle (2) and Goulburn, with the Newcastle win in a Benchmark 64 on March 17 the highlight of her ten race starts. That day the mare missed the start by three lengths and was last into the straight before unleashing a great turn of foot to win by two lengths running away. “Cross the Rubicon is ready to win, and she was good second up last preparation. She must be ridden way back to produce that electrifying finish – she loves a wet track and the long straight” Widdup said on Thursday.

Ang Pow had no luck when held up in the straight at Rosehill last start. He has won three from seven with two placings. The four-year-old was impressive in a first up Newcastle win on August 20. Ang Pow has placed on a heavy track and has good early speed. South Coast four-year-old Verbek is ready to fire after going down narrowly in a Rosehill Midway last start – he also likes wet tracks.  Paul Perry’s Saquon can improve sharply, and four of his five wins have been on wet tracks.

Newcastle Jockey Club’s legend, Hall of Famer and Jungle Juice King Robert Thompson has accepted an invitation form the NJC to present the trophies for the Jungle Juice Cup- a race he won eleven times. “RT” retired as Australia’s winningest jockey with 4447 winners in a magnificent career.

Widdup said on Thursday he had other gallopers that should run well at the meeting. “Ra Ra Grandpa in race one is a dour stayer, and he will certainly run the 2350m. I have a good opinion of my first starter Treasurer in race four. He came from last to win a recent trial and was never off the bit. He is ready to go, and a wet track won’t be a problem. Ausbred Flirt in race nine would be a good chance on a Soft 6 or better but she won’t run if the track is a nine or ten” Widdup said.

The Mark Newnham trained Iowa has bright prospects in the 2350m Class 1 & Maiden Plate. The son of the great European sire Galileo was first past the post at Goulburn last start, only to lose the race on protest. The former European stayer is having his third Australian start.