Gary Harley – The Herald – 17.10.23

Randwick trainer Michael Freedman has a good strike rate on the Newcastle track, and he will send three of his team to the track for Newcastle Jockey Clubs eight race program on Tuesday. The trio includes lightly raced Kiwi bred three-year-old Panic which contests the final event, the Prince Of Merewether Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) in only the geldings third race start. TAB has listed Panic as the $2.50 favourite, and he will be ridden by Jason Collett and has drawn perfectly in barrier three.

The son of Time Test debuted at Nowra on September 17 when a $1.50 favourite and he won easily. His only other start was on the Kensington track on October 4 when he travelled in fifth place before running home strongly to finish third in a Benchmark 64 Handicap. In both starts the track was firm and Panic will encounter a similar surface on Tuesday. “I was very happy with his Kensington run as he finished off nicely and he will appreciate the spacious Newcastle track. I bought him and Pushy at the Karaka sales. Pushy had four starts for three wins and a second in the Dulcify before being sold to Hong Kong” Freedman said.

The trainers other Newcastle runners are Nerano in the Sharp Office Maiden Plate (1600m) and Resistible in the New Zealand Bloodstock Midway Benchmark 68 Handicap (1200m). “Nerano is a grinder and he stargazed last start when he led. He draws well and can be on speed or lead. He has an each way chance. Resistible goes well first up, has won at Newcastle and her trials have been good. She is better at 1400m or 1600m but capable while fresh” Freedman said.

Brad Widdup is another trainer enjoying a good start to the season with 14 winners, and he will saddle up odds on favourite Confess Our Dreams in the opening event, the Master Builders Association Class 1 Handicap (900m). The three-year-old is quick and after two barrier trial wins, the filly won narrowly first up over this course on September 30.

Tommy Berry is riding at the meeting, and he will be aboard the Snowden stables colt Godzilla in the Living Turf CG&E Maiden Handicap (1400m). The three-year-old is yet to win in six starts, however this race is a drop in class. Back in March Godzilla finished fifth behind Golden Slipper winner Shinzo in the Pago Pago. Godzilla was a distant third first up at Kembla on October 7 when an odds-on favourite, but he is well placed here.

The Everest winning jockey Sam Clipperton will ride Alvina’s Luck for his old boss Ron Quinton in the Coastline Pool & Spa F&M Maiden Handicap (1400m). The mare was ridden by Clipperton when placed behind the boom galloper Schwarz in a Gosford Maiden last start. She was a clear last out of the barrier and still a mile back at the top of the short straight before making up many lengths. Alvina’s Luck has barrier one and she will appreciate the longer trip and spacious track.

Backing up from Saturday the rail will be out three metres and fine weather is predicted.