Gary Harley Last Word – 25.01.20

The Newcastle Jockey Club will stage its first meeting since Boxing Day on Saturday. The Freedman brothers will send five of their team to Newcastle with the ultra-consistent mare Outback Diva considered the stables best chance.

The Freedman’s quintet heading up the M1 include Outback Diva, Prime Star, Chewbacca, Sciconic and Wild Impact. Outback Diva will contest the 1400 metre Benchmark 70 Handicap with Andrew Gibbons riding the mare for the first time. Michael Freedman discussed Outback Diva’s prospect when contacted on Friday. “There is not much of this mare, but she is genuine as her record indicates. She was her own worst enemy early on with her barrier manners, but we have rectified that problem. Outback Diva ran home strongly when a close second over 1350 metres at Newcastle two runs back, so I am not concerned with her first run at 1400 metres. She like the Newcastle track and she will go forward and be hard to beat.

We expect Prime Star to race well in the 1200 metre 2YO Maiden. He was off the bit chasing in a fast run race when he flew home to just miss at Gosford last start. He would have won in another couple of strides and he will have blinkers on, on Saturday. The extra 200 metres on the spacious track is ideal. Prime Star is nominated for the $2 Million Inglis Millennium in a couple of weeks and he needs prize money to gain a start.

Of the others Chewbacca cannot draw a decent barrier but is going okay and has a place chance. Sciconic has trialled okay but will improve when the races are longer while Wild Impact is more of a stayer and will appreciate longer trips” Freedman said.

Former South Australian trainer Mark Minervini is currently in New Zealand for the Karaka Sales and while away the popular trainer could land his second Newcastle winner since moving East. Miss Fialka, part owned by Minervini has been ultra-consistent with placings in her past four starts at Gosford, Newcastle, Scone and Port Macquarie. Irish apprentice Tom Sherry rides the mare for the first time, and he claims 2 kilograms.

Leading Sydney trainers Chris Waller, James Cummings and Peter and Paul Snowden all have six runners at the Newcastle meeting. Wallers’ best chance is Kentucky Tornado in race 1, Cummings will saddle up two outstanding chances Anethole (Race5) and Katalin (Race7).

The Snowden’s best are Remorseless (Race 3) and Warfare (Race 6).