Gary Harley – Wrap – 11.01.24

Talented Wyong apprentice Anna Roper’s double at the Newcastle Jockey Clubs race meeting on Thursday took her season tally to 45. The young lady is currently in seventh place in the New South Wales Jockeys Premiership.

Roper produced a well-judged front running ride on seven-year-old Port Macquarie trained mare In A Step in the Davali TBS Classic Yearlings Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m). The Peter Graham trained mare is very quick and with the advantage of the rail’s barrier Roper let her stride out, and the $10 chance went to the line full of running to win by 1.67 lengths. It was In A Step’s 60th race start for 8 wins and 23 placings, for prizemoney of $238,285.

Roper’s mount Obvious Step was responsible for an incredible performance to win the Coastline Pool & Spa Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m). Wyong trainer Denim Wynen prepares the six-year-old mare who turned in an eye-catching performance the previous start when narrowly beaten at Wyong. When the barriers opened on Thursday Obvious Step was a clear last and remained there until early in the straight where Roper steered the mare to the outside of the eleven-horse field. She stormed home to claim victory in the shadows of the post. Obvious Step has a liking for the Newcastle track where her record stands at two wins and four placings from eight starts.

Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle notched up his 37th winner for the season when Sovereign Dane led most of the way to win the Horsepower Feeds & Supplements Maiden Handicap (1400m).  The Kiwi bred four-year-old was having his second start for Doyle and he improved greatly on his first up effort when unplaced on the Beaumont track on December 16.

The well fancied Taree galloper Imatruestar foiled a plunge on Chris Waller’s New Zealander Unusual Legacy in the final event, the Hungerford Hill Wines Benchmark 64 Handicap (1500m). Dylan Gibbons was aboard Imatruestar for Grant Jobson and he sat outside the leader before dashing clear in the straight. The runner up Unusual Legacy had no luck in the home straight after being held up before making good ground late. He was Nash Rawiller’s only ride for the day and he was an odds-on favourite after winning an Otaki Maiden on debut in November.

James Cummings’ Snitzel three-year-old Hanau ran up to his close Randwick placing first up recently when successful in the Yarraman Park Stud Super Maiden Plate (1200m). Zac Lloyd gave Hanau time to settle back in the field and he sprinted quickly in the straight to run down favourite Xidaki to win convincingly. He would have won first up at Randwick only for laying in and he is very promising.

The Maher-Eustace stable and Jason Collett combined to win the NZB Karaka Yearling Sales Jan 28 Maiden Handicap (1400m) with Kiwi bred mare Parabellum. Placed in her only three starts in Victoria in the Autumn the five-year-old settled third last but Collett found galloping room in the straight and she nailed the leaders in the closing stages.

Kembla trained three-year-old South Of India had too much speed for his opposition in the opening event, the Lees Racing Provincial 2&3yo Maiden Plate (900m). He was first up after a smart Kembla trial win and Shaun Guymer rode for Ross McConville.

The next Newcastle meeting is Legends Day on Saturday January 27.