Gary Harley – Herald – 26.09.2023

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott who are enjoying a great start to the current season with 35 winners Australia wide in less than two months, will send a pair of promising three-year-olds to Newcastle on Tuesday.  The two bluebloods will contest Maiden events at the Wine Country Race Club’s meeting to be conducted on the Beaumont track.

Head Of The Herd, a colt by Snitzel, resumes in the opening event, the Coastline Pool & Spa CG&E Maiden Plate (1150m). The three-year-old debuted at Warwick Farm in April, and after being heavily backed he led and tired when beaten 6.91 lengths. He went to the paddock and has impressed when runner up in two recent Randwick barrier trials. Head Of The Herd will probably need further ground later in the preparation, however nice and fresh, with the in-form Adam Hyeronimus on board and the rails barrier, the colt will be hard to beat.

The Waterhouse-Bott partnership’s other runner is the Exceed and Excel filly Alot A Lip who had outstanding trial form before a first up placing at Hawkesbury on September 2. She is very quick, has a nice barrier and Regan Bayliss is making the trip to ride Alot A Lip.

Scone trainer Luke Pepper who prepares The Kosciuszko favourite Opal Ridge has two winning chances at the Beaumont meeting. Press The Pedal has drawn the outside of the field however he is an on pacer, and with luck the four-year-old can win the Davali Thoroughbreds Country Boosted Maiden Handicap (1350m).  Back in March he had his only start on this track when he finished a two length second behind Wolf Bay. First up at Scone on September 5 he had a tough run three wide when a distant third. The longer trip on Tuesday is in Press The Pedal’s favour, and the talented Wyong apprentice Anna Roper claims 1½ kilograms.

Roper and Pepper combine again with last start winner Fine Vintage in the final event, the New Era Technology Benchmark 58 Handicap (1150m). Fine Vintage resumed from a spell with a narrow Scone victory on September 5. Back in January he had his previous start when successful at Orange.

Beetson, named after a rugby league legend, was impressive in winning a Tuncurry Maiden on September 8, and has bright prospects of a second up win in the Kloster Motor Group Benchmark 58 Handicap (1300m). The gelding was three wide with no cover at Tuncurry and he finished over the opposition to win running away. Beetson draws favorably, and in his only start on this track in March he was only beaten 0.58 of a length. He is trained by Kylie Gavenlock for Kim Harding and a group of owners.