Talented Newcastle 3yo Contributingfactor recaptured his best form when he won the Varley Group Benchmark 68 Handicap (1500m) at the Hunter Melanoma Foundation Raceday on Saturday.
The gelding won three of his first six starts in the Spring, and two of those wins were on the Newcastle track. He was favourite in his previous start at Randwick when ridden by Hugh Bowman. Contributingfactor was 15 lengths off the lead at the ‘800’, and on a day where backmarkers could not make up ground on the testing track, he finished midfield.
On Saturday apprentice Chris Williams adopted different tactics and the $2.25 favourite raced outside the leader Sian from the 1000m mark. He dashed clear 200 metres out and held off the challengers to win by ¾ length.
Bred by his part owner and trainer David Atkins, Contributingfactor has had ten starts for four wins and a second. His other part owner Matt Chidgey is a Newcastle businessman and long times client of Atkins’. Chidgey, who was on track, races Newcastle’s best 2yo Promitto – unbeaten in two starts including the Group 2 Skyline Stakes. Atkins trains Promitto, and both horses carry the colours made famous by the great Gunsynd.
Hawkesbury 3yo Global Ausbred, trained by Brad Widdup confirmed his staying potential with an easy win in the 1870m Shed Boss Benchmark 64 Handicap. The colt began well from his outside barrier and Jean Van Overmeire sent him forward to lead, and he was never headed. He raced away from the challengers late to win by two lengths. The son of successful Japanese sire Maurice has won three of his past four starts.
Newcastle – Hunter Racing Hall of Famer Peter Snowden and his training partner Paul won the final event at Newcastle, only 13 minutes after they trained Mazu to win the $1 million Group 1 Doomben 10,000 at Eagle Farm. The Newcastle winner was Revivalist who stormed home from back in the field to win the John Whitmore Memorial (1200m) by 1 ½ lengths.
Newcastle born Group 1 winning jockey Blake Spriggs and former Kiwi Rory Hutchings shared the riding honours with doubles. Spriggs was first past the post on In A Step for jockey turned trainer Peter Graham and he steered Miracle Spin to victory for Matthew Smith. Hutchings was successful on Backrower for Michael Freedman and Revivalist for the Snowden’s stable.