Gary Harley -Newcastle Wrap – 17.03.22

Kris Lees’ domination of the 2022 Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championships Qualifiers continued at the Newcastle Jockey Club’s meeting on Thursday. The trainer’s bonnie mare Never Talk demolished her rivals to win by 3 ¼ lengths, to give Lees victory in four of the five qualifiers run to date.

Never Talk, placed at Group 3 level last start was heavily backed firming from an opening quote of $3.30 into $2.30. James McDonald was aboard the favourite, and in her second start over the 1400m trip she raced closer than normal. Never Talk was ready to pounce on the home turn and when the leaders tracked wide McDonald drove the favourite up along then rail and she sprinted clear to win easily.

The jockey was full of praise for the winner. “She is a nice mare, and we had a lovely run on the rail, and when the leaders fanned Never Talk picked up quickly and put a gap in them late. That was my first ride on the mare, and she was very impressive. She will be hard to beat in the Final” McDonald said. Kim Waugh confirmed McDonald has been booked to ride Great News in the Final so Never Talk will need a new rider.

John Sargent’s filly Mayrose hung on for second and she qualifies for the $500,000 Final to be run at Randwick on April 9.

Lees’ other winners in the 2022 series have been Rustic Steel, Geo, and Kinloch. Lees has more ammunition for the Wyong qualifier on Saturday week and the Wild Card at Newcastle on March 31.

Racegoers saw a potential Group contender when John O’Shea’s talented filly Comrade Rosa came from well back to win the Sage Painting Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m). The 3yo Capitalist filly has no speed, but she is always very strong late as she was on Thursday. After a brilliant debut win at Kembla in November, Comrade Rosa was placed behind the smart Shihonka at Rosehill and was a little more than a length away at Warwick Farm before a spell.

Bowman rode the winner, and it was the second leg of a double for the champion jockey. He was also aboard the Chris Waller trained Peindre, winner of the Avid PM Maiden Handicap (1400m). McDonald also rode a double with Never Talk and the Annabel Neasham trained West Of Africa who won the Kloster Motor Group 2yo Maiden Plate (1200m).