Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s bold front runner Cross Talk courtesy of a familiar ‘catch me if you can’ ride by Tim Clarke was too classy for the opposition in Friday’s Group 3 Horsepower Newcastle Stakes (1400m). Declared a weighted good thing by form experts with only 54 ½ kilograms on his back Cross Talk went to the barrier as the $2.00 favourite. Clearly the first out of the barrier the Kiwi bred 5 year old was allowed to roll by Clark and he led by 4 lengths at the 800m. The winner was second up from a spell and Clark went for home at the top of the straight and Cross Talk was full running. The gelding was challenged by the gutsy top weight Gem Song in the final 200 metres however, he held off the local hope to win by half a neck.
Kembla Grange trained Cuban Royale flashed home to finish a short neck away third. Clark was elated to win the race formally known as the Newcastle Newmarket for the first time. “He is a bold front runner, is tough and has great cruising speed. He is a horse that can trick you with how fast he is going but I wanted to make it a test because if we went too slow they would out sprint Cross Talk on the dry track. All his previous wins have been on heavy and soft tracks. I thought if a dragged the sprint out of the others that was the key to winning the race” Clark said.
It was the Waterhouse-Bott partnerships first win in the Group 3 event however the champion lady trainer saddled up the 1997 winner Secret Savings as well as Hey Pronto (2002) and Platinum Scissors (2004). The $4 Million Doncaster Mile on April 1 at Randwick is Cross Talk’s Autumn target.
The inaugural Paul Perry 2-year-old Handicap was won by the Gary Portelli trained Kintyre. The colt was a $20 chance, and he ran down the James Cummings filly Inhibitions near the post. Wymark was a close third. All three placegetters are trained by former Golden Slipper winning mentors.
Sydney’s three talented apprentices rode winners on the day. South African born Zac Lloyd steered home two winners for the Hawkes stable. He was aboard the consistent Grand Crusader which prevailed in a close finish in the Kloster Motor Group Maiden Plate (1200m). Lloyd produced a gun ride to pilot Shohei bred and raced by Gerry Harvey to victory in the Final event the Sharp Office Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m). Local boy Dylan Gibbons combined with Nathan Doyle to win the Kam-Cool Refrigeration Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) with Wealthofknowledge. Tyler Schiller was successful on Kintyre in the Bella Group Services Paul Perry 2-year-Old (1300m).
Melbourne Cup winning trainer Ciaron Maher was on track to see his promising Frankel filly Frankie’s Me Dad win her second on the trot in the Novocastrian Electrical Class 1 & Maiden Plate (2300m).