Newcastle mare Asharani is off to Randwick for the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championship Final, following her outstanding win in the Gosford Qualifier at Newcastle on Thursday.
The winner’s trainer Kris Lees already qualified Stella Sea Sun and Great Danger for the Provincial Final and he will have at least three runners in the Final on April 11. Lees has four runners in Saturday’s Kembla Qualifier, and he will attempt to qualify others in the Wyong Qualifier on Saturday week.
Asharani put the writing on the wall when a fast finishing second behind Trumbull at Randwick nineteen days earlier. The transfer of the Gosford Qualifier to Newcastle enhanced Asharani chances as she needs a long straight to wind up.
The winner was heavily backed into $3.60 favourite and as expected, the mare settled at the tail of the field. The pace was a cracker and Asahrani was ten lengths off the lead at the 600m. Brenton Avdulla chasing his fourth winner at the meeting eased the favourite to the outside at the top of the straight and she stormed home.
Through The Cracks ($17) finished strongly to snatch second place and Paul Perry’s General Soho ($21) ran on into third place. The time of 1-09.26 was a track record.
Lees said after the race that the extra 200 metres at Randwick would be more to Asharani’s liking. “I expected a fast tempo and we sure got that. It played into our hands and Brenton who knows the mare well let her run along at the back.
Asharani was always going to be strong late and she had them covered at the 200m. The 1400m at Randwick is ideal for this mare and a soft track would help, “ Lees said.
Newcastle’s premier trainer finished the day with a double as his New Zealand bred filly, I Say Hello ($2.40) led all the way on debut in the 1200 metre New Zealand Bloodstock Two-Year-Old Maiden Plate. Raced by a group including Coolmore and Kiwi Sir Peter Vella, the filly ridden by Avdulla was taken on in front by runner up Wheelhouse and she held on to win by half a head.
Avdulla had a field day and he was the punters pal steering home four favourites to victory. He started the day aboard $2.25 chance Penang in the Hunter Valley Premium Meats Maiden (900m).
The Snowden trained filly quickly led, and cruised home to win by two lengths. Avdulla was aboard the $1.55 favourite Favra in race two, the 1200 metre Tradienetwork.com.au Maiden. Favra came from the tail of the field to snatch victory on the post.
Rachel King landed a treble aboard Amitto, Plaquette and Poulton Le Sands. James Cummings trains Amitto and Plaquette.