Gary Harley – Wrap – 16.12.23

Alysha Collett, a member of one of New Zealand’s great racing families rounded off a successful near five months of the current season with a winning treble at Saturdays Newcastle Jockey Club race meeting run on the Beaumont track. The sister of Jason and a daughter of Richard, Alysha has ridden 33 winners in the current season just short of five months in. Only recently Collett and partner Sky Racings Luke Marlow purchased a home at Maroubra.

The talented rider was in the punter’s good books as all three of her winners were either favorite or second favourite. The first of her winners Colours Of Autumn, a daughter of former multiple Group 1 winner The Autumn Sun won the Allied The Careful Movers Provincial Maiden Plate (1350m) after being backed into $1.65. The filly had been unplaced in her only three starts but dropped sharply in class on Saturday. Trained at Hawkesbury by Brad Widdup Colours Of Autumn settled in fourth place and Collett eased her around the two leaders at the top of the straight and she raced away to win by 3.2 lengths.

In the following race the QMF Construction Christmas Plate Maiden Handicap (1200m) Collett was aboard $3.30 second favourite Chief Witness for The Everest winning trainer Joe Pride. In the small field Chief Witness settled second last before Collett made her move near the home turn where she allowed the three-year-old to stride up outside the leaders. The winner, in his third race start wore blinkers for the first time and Collett rode him out hands and heels to hold off all challengers in a close finish.

Sydney Bowler from the John O’Shea stable bolted in at doubles figure odds on debut on the Newcastle course proper on December 2, however on Saturday in the Loan Market Direct Benchmark 64 Handicap (1250m) with Collett aboard was the $1.75 favourite. Sydney Bowler went back to second last soon after the start and it took him the length of the straight to run down Newcastle galloper King’s Duty on the post. The winner is very promising and he will appreciate longer journeys.

Kris Lees quinellaed the Spillane Property F&M Maiden Handicap (1200m) with promising fillies Imposant and the New Zealand bred Bestower. Imposant carrying the colours of Lees’ three-time Group 1 winner Le Romain is part owned by the trainer’s wife Kristy, and she was resuming from a spell. Ridden by Andrew Gibbons the winner had a lovely run one off the fence in fifth place and when she unwound around the 200 meter point the filly careered away to win by 2.23 lengths. Bestower was very strong late and made up many lengths – she is one to follow particularly over a longer trip.

The Hawkes stable trained the shortest priced favorite of the day Botanica ($1.40 fav) in the Metric Power Super Maiden Plate (1350m). Punters who took the short odds were never worried as Mitchell Bell had the favourite cruising in the lead, ultimately winning by 1.62 lengths.

Coffs Harbour trainer Sally Taylor made the long trip down the Coast with six-year-old mare Tread Softly, and she was the second longest priced winner of the meeting. A $17 chance Tread Softly was an easy winner of the HBT Group Benchmark 68 Handicap (1150m) with Keagan Latham in the saddle. The winner is unbeaten in two starts since joining Taylor’s stable.

The Beaumont track will host the Boxing Day race meeting and a big crowd is expected.