Gary Harley – Herald – 31.03.22

The Polytrack Provincial Midway Championship Wild Card to be run at Newcastle on Thursday is the last chance for horses to qualify for the $500,000 Final at Randwick on April 9. The first three placegetters on Thursday will progress to the final.

Local trainers David Atkins and Kris Lees will provide nine of the sixteen runners. Atkins pair Contributing Factor and Harvey’s Way are talented lightly raced 3-year old’s having their second start from a spell. Contributing Factor to be ridden by Tommy Berry has had seven starts for three wins and a second. He has won two from four at Newcastle, is unbeaten second up and has won two races on soft tracks. The gelding was beaten three and a half lengths in the Provincial Midway Qualifier on this track by Never Talk on March 17. Contributing Factor was strong late.

Harvey’s Way has had five starts for two wins and two placings and Christian Reith has the mount. At Newcastle his record is three starts for a win and two placings. He is a winner on a soft track and he was run off his legs in the 1200 metre Qualifier at Gosford on March 12. Harvey’s Way will appreciate the longer trip.

Lees will saddle up seven of his team and Confessed is the only one under double figures in early markets. The mare will be ridden by Hugh Bowman and she has returned from Queensland where she was a last start Eagle Farm winner on March 12. She won at Newcastle and is a soft track winner.

Lees has already qualified Rustic Steel, Geo, Kinloch, Never Talk and Grande Rumore for the final.

The Warwick Farm trained mare Pippali, an eye catching third behind Never Talk in a Qualifier at Newcastle on March 17, has a great chance. The Jason Coyle trained four year old will be ridden by William Pike and he rode her last start.

Local 5-year-old Why Big Bry is racing in great form since joining the Nathan Doyle stable and he is well placed in the 1200 metre TAB Venue Mode Class 1 Handicap. The gelding bolted in by five lengths in a Gosford Class 1 on February 19. Last start he was run down on the line on a heavy track at Gosford on March 12.

Wyong 4-year-old One Way Street should kick favourite punters off on the right leg when he resumes in the opening event, the Sage Painting Maiden Handicap (900m). He is very quick and has been runner up in his only two starts at Wyong in November and December. One Way Street won a recent Gosford trial.

Chris Waller’s filly Mystic Mermaid will be hard to beat in the 1200 metre Sharp Office Maiden Handicap. She was narrowly beaten in a Wyong Maiden in September and she won a recent Warwick Farm trial.