Gary Harley – Herald – 26.12.22

Andrew Gibbons heads to his home track with a solid book of rides at the Newcastle Boxing Day race meeting to be run on the Beaumont track. Gibbons has a full book of rides on the seven-race program, and two of his better rides are from the Kris Lees stable.

The trainer’s promising filly Powerful Peg makes her first Provincial appearance in the opening event, the Sharp Office F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m) after building up a good record on country tracks. The three-year-old has won two of four starts with one second, and she has won on both good and soft rated tracks. The barrier is tricky but if the trainer elects to ride Powerful Peg back in the field, she has a good turn of foot.

Gibbons and Lees combine with Dundeel mare Classic Deel in the Australian Bloodstock Maiden Plate (2030m). The four-year-old has only had four starts since entering the Lees stable mid-year, and a close fourth, half a length from the winner in a recent 1900m Canterbury Maiden indicates Classic Deel is ready to win.

Gibbons rides the well fancied Chipper for close friends Kim and Mark Waugh in the Horsepower Provincial Maiden Plate (1200m), and the gelding will be hard to beat. Chipper has had two starts this preparation and hasn’t been far away – and he was an easy trial winner at Wyong recently. Gibbons other four mounts Rocstar Boy, Thrill Of Brazil, Taking The Mikki and Invictus Lad all have chances in their respective races.

Two of racings best trainers Chris Waller and the Snowden partnership can saddle up winners late in the day. Waller’s Gleefilly is the one to beat in the Des Edser Memorial Maiden Plate (1350m). The filly has finished strongly in her only two starts over shorter trips on tighter tracks and she is well placed in this race.

The Snowden camp has winning prospects in the final two events.  San Lucido represents the stable in the Hidden Valley Yearlings @ Classic Sale CG&E Maiden Plate (1350m). He resumes from a spell after two quiet trials, and he draws well. The Snowden’s have three runners in the final event the Prince Of Merewether Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m). Invictus Lad is the best of the trio after a fast-finishing Gosford Maiden win on debut on November 19 and a close fourth at Kembla recently.