Gary Harley – Wrap – 14.10.23

Scone five-year-old Russley Crown will be set for the 2024 Country Championship Series following his tough win in Saturday’s TLE Jungle Juice Cup (1350m) at the Newcastle Racecourse. Trained by part owner Scott Singleton, the gelding a huge drifter in the betting blew from an opening quote of $6 to $11. He is a front runner and after beginning well Russley Crown led from the 1100m and held on to win by 0.27 of a length from the fast-finishing Obvious Step with Serene Nic a close third.

The winner has won four of twelve starts with five placings, and prizemoney of $139,080. Singleton said on Saturday that he trained Flys Away, a city winner and mother of Russley Crown, “Jess Taylor rode my horse today and I reminded her that she won a race at Canterbury on Flys Away some years back. Russley Crown is a smart horse especially when allowed to lead, and he was much fitter than when first up in the recent Denman Cup at Muswellbrook. I think I will back off him now and wait for the Country Championships after Christmas” Singleton said.

Russley Crown had very good form earlier this year before a spell. He was runner up in the Country Championship Wild Card at Scone in March before a close second in the Country Cup on Scone Cup Day. Singleton moved from Hawkesbury to Scone four years ago and has 35 horses in work.

Newcastle based jockey Ash Morgan rode three winners at the meeting, and the treble took his tally of winners this season to 30½ in 2½ months. All three of Morgan’s winners were at short odds and two of them in the ‘red’. Two seasons back Morgan rode 145 winners, and if he remains injury and suspension free in the current season, he can notch up another big tally of winners.

The first of his treble was aboard the talented Territory Express trained at Kembla by Paul Niceforo. The four-year-old has been in good form despite his trait of walking out of the barriers. Niceforo took the blinkers off Territory Express on Saturday, but he was still last to leave the barriers before storming home.

Morgan’s next two winners carried the colours of Dynamic Syndications. The speedy Drums of War trained by Jason Deamer is building up a fine record and his narrow but gutsy win in the NHP Electrical Engineering Provincial Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m) was full of merit as he had no peace in running.

The Welshman then steered three-year-old filly Just In Time to victory in the Schneider Electric F&M Maiden Handicap (1200m). Just In Time is trained by Richard and Will Freedman, and she had won two recent barrier trials before Saturday’s debut. The filly raced in second place and was strong to the line.

Hawkesbury based jockey Mitchell Bell also had a successful day riding an early double at the meeting. Sam Kavanagh trained the first of Bell’s winners, Metallic Ruler in the AFL Telecommunications Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m). Heavily backed into $3.30 favourite the colt finished powerfully from midfield at the top of the straight. The son of Capitalist has won two of four starts.

Bell’s other winner Parisian Rose produced the performance of the day to win the Klein Tools Super Maiden Plate (900m). The filly, in the Michael Freedman stable had excellent trial form and she was on debut. Third last on the turn and going nowhere at the 200m, the filly sprouted wings in the last 50m to reach the lead on the line.

The easiest win of the day was by the Snowden family’s Rapido in the Tigerlight CG&E Maiden Handicap (1200m). He raced away in the straight to win by 4.25 lengths.