Gary Harley – Wrap – 13.04.24

Aaron Bullock’s double at Saturday’s Newcastle Jockey Club race meeting, and another double at Wellington on Sunday has taken him to the lead in the New South Wales Jockeys Premiership. Bullock won the Premiership last season with 207.5 winners, and he was the only jockey to ride two winners at Newcastle to take his season tally to 97, and after the Wellington double 99.

At Newcastle he was aboard the Arrowfield owned and John Thompson trained Impunity, the $1.35 favourite in the opening event – Lambourne Consulting Midway Maiden Handicap (1850m), and the result was never in doubt. The son of Dundeel settled third last in the small field and after challenging the leaders at the top of the straight he quickly put the issue beyond doubt, scoring by 1.15 lengths. The winner’s previous two starts had been at Newcastle where he was runner-up on both occasions.

Bullock’s second winner, The New Sinatra for John O’Shea was well deserved as the three-year-old had been placed in his previous three starts at Kembla, Newcastle, and Gosford. The winner was afforded a perfect run worse than midfield before gaining a split at the top of the straight and racing away to win by 1.74 lengths.

Former English apprentice Angus Villiers gave a polished front running display to win on the talented filly Empress Of Wonder in the Insight Building Services Maiden Plate (1200m). Well credentialled in her two-year-old season, the now three-year-old was in need of the run when placed at Wyong first up recently after a thirteen-month break. Villiers had no hesitation in leading on Empress Of Wonder, and he rated her perfectly to win by half a length.  Annabel Neasham trains the filly who was placed in black type races during the autumn of 2023, and she is a daughter of Newcastle-Hunter Hall Of Famer Choisir.

Newcastle based Ash Morgan, third in the New South Wales Jockeys Premiership rode his 91.5 winner when Ohtani, given a gun ride, stormed home from the back to win the Century 21 Aaron Walter Super Maiden Handicap (1500m). Trained by Kiwi Bryce Heys, the four-year-old put the writing on the wall with an eye-catching second the previous start on the Kensington track.

Former jockey Claire Lever was in the winner’s circle with her three-year-old Big Boy George which came from well back on the turn to win the Farrelly Construction Services Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1200m). Lever, married to successful Adelaide and later Sydney based jockey Chad Lever trains at Hawkesbury. It was the gelding’s second win from eight starts, and he has been a good money spinner for his big group of owners which includes Claire’s parents.

Let’s Try’s win in the Team EST Benchmark 68 Handicap (1200m) was very impressive. Brandon Larena allowed the four-year-old to utilize his speed from the wide barrier to sit outside the lead in a fast run race. He raced clear at the top of the straight and won by 2.58 lengths, the biggest winning margin of the day – and the fastest 1200m race.

The Bjorn Baker trained O’Tycoon survived a protest from third placegetter Das Kapital’s rider Louise Day after being first past the post in the Osbornlaw Benchmark 68 Handicap (1200m). Day alleged interference from the winner approaching the 1000m mark. The winner had no luck when badly held up in the straight in his previous start on the Kensington track.