The Hunter Valley Premium Meats Cessnock Cup (2100m) is the highlight of a marathon Newcastle Jockey Club nine race program on the Beaumont track on Monday.
Randwick trainer John Sargent has booked Willie Pike to ride the early favorite Left Reeling, and the mare will be hard to beat. She is ultra-consistent with two wins and five placings from nine starts. The Dundeel mare has good wet track form, and her best form is on the spacious tracks. Left Reeling finished midfield in the Group 1 Flight Stakes in October last year, and after an eleven month spell the Kiwi bred four-year-old has had four starts this preparation.
She came from near last first up at Hawkesbury on August 9 when runner up in a 1300m Maiden. Second up, Left Reeling was a long odds-on favourite when an easy winner at Scone. Stepping up to 1850 metres on the Newcastle course proper on September 16 she was again too classy for her rivals. Last start when favourite at Warwick Farm the mare ran on from a clear last to be beaten 3.5 lengths. Left Reeling should race much closer from the soft draw, and she has 55kg.
Top weight Our Candidate is the class runner but has the impost of 62kg. Trained by Kris Lees, he has solid recent form which includes a close third in the recent $200,000 Port Macquarie Cup behind a promising stayer Quality Time. Our Candidate was placed at Randwick, Rosehill, and Warwick Farm during the winter. Mydeel and Dragon Dream are emerging stayers who should run well.
Locally trained Rockbarton Ruby has put the writing on the wall in recent starts and she has a great chance in the opening event, The Hunter – November 12 F&M Benchmark 58 Handicap (1350m). The mare has caught the eye with fast finishing placings at Newcastle and Scone on heavy tracks in her past two starts, and she produced a huge finish to win at Scone in July. Ashley Morgan, back from an overseas trip rides the mare for David Atkins.
Another Novocastrian with a chance at odds is the Steve Hodge trained Trumpster in the Kloster Motor Group CG&E Benchmark 58 Handicap (1350m). Trumpster twice struck trouble in running when beaten 2.4 lengths at Newcastle on October 11.