Gary Harley – Wrap – 17.01.23

Newcastle Racecourse’s Course Proper received high praise from leading jockeys when it hosted the NJC’s first meeting of 2023 on Tuesday. It was the Course Proper’s first meeting for six weeks and it raced magnificently.

Gosford trained Border Control which has an interesting history had tongues wagging after his last to first win in the Australian Bloodstock Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m). Border Control was a $1.15 Million buy at the 2019 Australian Easter Yearling Sale. His first two starts were in Hong Kong in the latter part of 2021, and he finished last in both – beaten a total of 57 lengths. Border Control joined the stable of astute Gosford trainer Adam Duggan last year, and he is unbeaten in two starts for his new trainer.

The five-year-old was impressive in winning first up at Gosford on December 28. On Tuesday, Rachel King allowed the gelding to drop out to last and he was still at the tail of the field with less than 200 metres to run. The horse stormed home to win by ¾ length, running away in fast time. He sprinted home the last 600m in a smart 32.62.

Duggan was a very happy man following the race “He is such a nice horse, but he has been a work in progress. However, the change he has made physically over the last six weeks has been the thing that has given me a lot of hope with the horse. He has gone from looking like a country or a provincial horse to a city horse in a matter of weeks”. Duggan said.

Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup bookended the seven-race program.  Three-year-old filly Shalaa’s Moment ran down the odds-on favourite Soobooco in the opening event, the Sharp Office Maiden Plate (900m). Top Victorian jockey Brett Prebble, who recently relocated to Sydney rode the filly to victory. Prebble said he had not ridden at Newcastle for four or five years. A heady front running ride by apprentice Amy McLucas led to an all the way win by Showtime Lady in the final event, the Hungerford Hill Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m).

The only local trainer to taste success on the day was Nathan Doyle who prepares the former Victorian Cheerful Legend, winner of the Prince Of Merewether Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m). it was the four-year-olds second start for Doyle, and he was heavily backed.

Chris Waller prepared the quinella in the NZB Karaka Yearling Sales Start January 29 Maiden Handicap (1400m). Hellbent filly Infinitive in only her third start appreciated the 1400m, and the filly ran down Outsider which was on debut.

The next Newcastle meeting will be held on Saturday January 28.