Newcastle’s three-year-old filly Café Royal is likely to head to Brisbane to contest the Group 3 Winx Guineas next month after she got off the canvas to win the 1300 metre Benchmark 70 Handicap at Saturdays Newcastle race meeting. Backed off the map from $2.05 into $1.70, Café Royal in her first start since February 29 sat outside the leader Isorich to the home turn where she surged to the front.
Muswellbrook mare Trophies Galore challenged Café Royal 400 metres from home and the pair had a titan battle to the finish line. Trophies Galore appeared to have the favourites measure three or four times down the straight, but the three-year-old is tough as teak and she worried the older female out of it. Café Royal has won four of five starts and should be unbeaten.
In her last start before a spell, Koby Jennings who has ridden the filly in all five starts was suspended for not riding Café Royal out to the line. On dismounting on Saturday Jennings turned to trainer Nathan Doyle and said “Geez that felt good. I owed you that”. Doyle was full of praise for his bonnie filly after the race. “She is so tough. She looked beaten a number of times but that is her. Koby said she floats when she reaches the lead. This filly doesn’t know what it’s all about. The penny hasn’t fully dropped, and she loves a bunny to chase. One thing Café Royal likes is a contest I am so relieved she has won. I will discus a trip to Brisbane for the group 3 Winx Guineas with owners Mathew Sandblom during the week. The Brisbane race isn’t on until July 11 so if we go Café Royal will have a run in Sydney in-between”, Doyle said.
Murwillumbah visitor Snazz ‘N’ Charm was the shortest-priced runner at the meeting in the 1200 metre Maiden Plate. Trained by Matthew Dunn one of country NSW’s most successful trainers Snazz ‘N’ Charm was a $1.45 favourite after travelling midfield on the rail, the three-year-old secured clear running at the top of the straight and he wore the leaders down and won running away.
One of the more impressive performances at the meeting was by Wyong two-year-old Isalute in the 900 metre two-year-old Maiden Plate. Slowly away, the gelding was ridden along to race up behind the leading group. He was driven through a gap at the 200-metre point and he raced clear under hands and heels riding.
Trainer Brett Patelle was rapt “This is a very nice horse. Better than average. You don’t see horses bomb the start and win in 900-metre races. Isalute’s two trials have been excellent Keagan Latham came up from Sydney to ride him in his last trial and he was very impressed”, Partelle said.
Former Kiwi Jockey Rory Hutchings took the riding honours with a double aboard Minted and Snazz ‘N’ Charm.