Gary Harley – Herald – 26.11.23

Randwick trainer John Thompson will send two early favorites to the Community Race Day race meeting at Newcastle on Sunday. Bobby Is King is the $2.40 early favourite with TAB in the Lexus Of Newcastle Maiden Handicap (900m), and he is first up after two recent trials. He has had four starts, all in early 2022 and the five-year-old has the best form in the race.

Last start on March 17, 2022, he attempted an all the way win in a 1400m Newcastle Maiden, only to be run down by Peindre. Bobby Is King was beaten less than a length at Goulburn two starts back. He was beaten 3.24 lengths by Arbitration and Kipsbay in a field at Warrick Farm, in a race grades above the race he contests on Sunday. Three of his four starts have been on Soft 5 tracks and there is a chance of showers over the weekend. Bobby Is King has to overcome a tricky barrier but he has a talented jockey in Keagan Latham, and he bolted in with a recent Wyong trial.

Thompson’s filly Emmadella is in good form this preparation and will be hard to beat with Latham aboard in the AON United Midway Class 1 Handicap (1400m). The three-year-old put the writing on the wall last start at Wyong on November 11 when she hit the line hard from back in the field to finish runner up behind the smart Eau De Vie. She was strong late when an impressive Kembla maiden winner two starts back on October 8. Emmadella was a close third in her only Newcastle start on October 14. She is versatile and performs well on wet or dry tracks.

Thompson also has a runner in the final event, The Hunter Community Race Day Maiden Plate (1500m). Our Uptown Girl will have Reece Jones in the saddle and the Pierro filly is not without a chance. It is an open race and the longer trip is ideal. She was only beaten 1.65 lengths from the winner Hip Hip Hurrah in the Black Type Woodlands on debut over the Scone Cup Carnival in May.

John O’Shea’s Kiwi bred stayer Domingo is knocking on the door, and the opening event the Bekaert Ropeworks Benchmark 64 Handicap (2300m) is a lovely race for the four-year-old. His last two starts at Hawkesbury and Gosford indicate he is ready to win. At Hawkesbury on November 9, he was runner up in a Benchmark 68 2100m on a heavy track. Two starts back at Gosford, again on a rain affected track he was runner up over 2100m. if showers arrive on Friday or Saturday his prospects will be enhanced.

The Parks Bistro & Catering 2yo Maiden Plate (900m) has attracted a field of seven first starters. It is an interesting race with three youngsters trained by Maher & Eustace, James Cummings has two runners, the Snowden’s one and Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle’s filly Body Of Venus has trialled well enough to beat them all.  Doyle took Body Of Venus to Warwick Farm for her only trial on November 8. The filly led the four-horse trial by six lengths, eventually winning by 2.15 lengths untouched. Body Of Venus has barrier one and Mitchell Bell has the mount.  The Godolphin pair Glorioso and Skogafoss both come off nice quiet trials and the Snowden colt Spartus ran on strongly under a hold in a recent trial.

One of the more interesting gallopers at Newcastle on Sunday is the unbeaten four-year-old mare Rapbidash, trained at Scone by South African Lyle Chandler. She debuted at Muswellbrook in May and was well backed at big odds, and her performance was exceptional, coming from near last to win by 4 lengths. Next start Rapbidash was $1.35 in a Taree Class 1 and she raced on the pace before a strong win. She resumes after two trials, one of which she won at Scone on October 27.

Lifeline is the benefactor of the Community Race Day at Newcastle on Sunday and it will be the NJC’s third race meeting in eight days.