Gary Harley – Herald – 17.09.21

Former European stayer Berdibek will attempt to win his third Black type race in as many starts when he lines up in the Group 3 Sharp Office Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on Friday. The Newcastle Gold Cup with increased prizemoney of $250,000 this year highlights a cracking race meeting which also includes the Group 3 Australian Bloodstock Cameron Handicap and Group 3 Yarraman Park Tibbie Stakes.

Berdibek sourced in Europe by John O’Shea for his high-profile owners more than three years ago has been in outstanding from. The big greys last to fourth performance in Julys Grafton Cup was an eye catcher. After a six week break he came from second last to win the Listed Hawkesbury Rowley Mile. Two weeks ago, Berdibek came from near last on the home turn to win the Listed Wyong cup by 1 ½ lengths running away.

O’Shea when contacted on Thursday said he is praying for a dry track on Friday. “Five of his six wins have been on the firmer tracks and I believe with no rain Newcastle track may get to a good 4 or a soft 5 at the worst. Berdibek as we know is flying this preparation and he will love the spacious Newcastle track with the long straight. Christian Reith has ridden winners for me and I was pleased to move early and secure him for the ride. Newcastle has been a happy hunting ground for me. I won the Tibbie last year with All Saints Eve and I have won a couple of Cameron’s” O’Shea said.

The Gold Cup is a wide open affair with many winning prospects.

Peter Snowden, born and bred in the Upper Hunter where he rode and started his training career, is hoping to win the only Newcastle race that has eluded him on Friday.

The Newcastle Jockey Club hosts one Group race in the Autumn which is The Newmarket. It hosts three Group races on Newcastle Cup Day being The Cup, The Cameron and Tibbie and on The Hunter Day – The Spring Stakes.

The only one of the above Snowden hasn’t won is The Tibbie for fillies and mares. On Friday Snowden and his son Paul will saddle up talented mare Mirra Vision in the Yarraman Park Tibbie Stakes (1400m). Mirra Vision has won six of her sixteen starts and was successful in her only Newcastle start. She hasn’t raced since an easy win at Randwick on July 31, however she was impressive in winning a recent Randwick trial on September 2.

I interviewed Snowden at the most recent Newcastle meeting for Sky Racing “There is only one of Newcastle’s Group races that I have not won. It is the Tibbie Stakes and I believe Paul and I have the right horse this year. Mirra Vision is the one and she has a very good record and is flying” Snowden said.

The Hawkes trained Rock will attempt to create history by being the only sprinter to win three successive Australian Bloodstock Cameron Handicap’s on Friday. The six year old indicated he was ready when finishing fourth behind Zaaki in the recent Randwick Tramway.

Duais won the Group 1 Queensland Oaks in the winter and she was runner up in the Group 1 ATC Oaks in the autumn however, she is a dual acceptor and a decision will be made as to whether Duais runs in the Cameron at Newcastle or at Randwick the following day.

Frontrunner Frosty Rocks and the locally trained Sky Lab should both run well in a very strong race.

The James Cummings trained Silhouette and the Hawkes filly Yearning look good bets in races 1 and 2.