Gary Harley – Herald – 25.05.24

Clear Thinking, a four-year-old mare bred by the late Queen Elizabeth makes her eagerly awaited debut at Saturday’s Newcastle Jockey Club race meeting. If breeding is any indication, and in addition her outstanding trial form, Clear Thinking could be something special. The mare’s sire Dubawi is recognized as the second best sire in the world behind Frankel, and her dam Sweet Idea was a star on the racetrack when trained by Gai Waterhouse. Sweet Idea won eight races with eight placings from nineteen starts before retiring after winning the 2015 The Galaxy. She was sold to Queen Elizabeth, but when the latter passed away Clear Thinking was purchased by John Messara and Hong Kong based Hermitage.

On Saturday Clear Thinking debuts in the 900m Quarry Mining Maiden Handicap from barrier one with Aaron Bullock in the saddle. She has genuine speed and has won her only two trials at Tamworth and Muswellbrook by 4.03 and 3.67 lengths respectfully. The prospect of a soft track won’t be a problem as the Muswellbrook track was a Heavy 8 when she trialled.

Paul Perry’s three-year-old Curl Curl, a brilliant first up winner on this track on April 24, is another good mount for Bullock on the eight-race program. Curl Curl will contest the 900m Robyn Platt Memorial on a track where he has raced three times for a win and two placings. He sprinted away in the straight to win by 2.82 lengths first up on a Soft 5 track. There is speed galore in this short course event and Curl Curl can unleash off a fast pace. Perry is enjoying a successful season with 48 winners, winning last week’s Scone Cup with Sky Lab.

Wyong trained three-Year-Old Magicon can notch up his third win on the trot when he steps out in the 1890m Newcastle Skin Check Provincial Benchmark 68 Handicap. The son of Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon is trained by Tracey Bartley, and he has won two of his three starts on his home track. He led all the way to win a 1350m Maiden on April 11, and last start he settled fourth before racing away late to win over 1600m on a Heavy 10 track. Magicon had a quiet trial at Gosford on Monday, and he will carry 55kg after apprentice Zac Wadick’s 2kg claim.

Former Victorian So Sleek is set to win his first race for Kembla trainer Kerry Parker when he steps up to the tough 2340m trip in the opening event, the John Whitmore Memorial Class 1 & Maiden Plate. Formerly trained by Ciaron Maher, So Sleek has had two starts for Parker – both at Newcastle over 1890m. Last start on a Soft 7 track the four-year-old came from the rear of the field to make up many lengths when beaten 1.51 lengths.

Ciaron Maher’s There There, a winner on the track in October, has not enjoyed the best of breaks in two starts this preparation and she is well placed in the Newcastle Financial Planning Group Benchmark 64 Handicap (1250m) with Mitchell Bell in the saddle.

Saturday’s race meeting is the annual Hunter Melanoma Foundation Race Ray. The Foundation has benefited from this race meeting for close to 30 years with fashions, fillies, frocks and fundraising activities on the day.