Gary Harley – Wrap – 22.06.24

Cessnock trained Soobooco and Hawkesbury four-year-old Gallic Fox both landed huge plunges on the heavy track at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday.

Soobooco, formerly trained by Mark Minervini recently joined the Larry Fairhall stable where the gelding has had two unplaced runs at Muswellbrook and Scone. He does race well over the short course at Newcastle, and on Saturday he lined up in the Seed People Consulting Class 1 Handicap (900m). The TAB representative on Sky Thoroughbred Central reported that Soobooco was backed from $19 into $3.20. Scone apprentice Braith Nock had his first ride on the winner and after being one of the first to leave the barriers Nock eased him back behind the speed. The twenty-one-year-old drove the plunge horse through a gap and reveling in the conditions Soobooco sprinted away to win by 2.97 lengths. Fairhall is one of a small group of trainers still training at Cessnock, and he also owns Soobooco.

Terry Croft trains Gallic Fox which resumed from a spell in the CEG Sales & Service Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1400m). He was unplaced in three starts earlier this year and finished last in a recent Hawkesbury trial. On Saturday, TAB offered odds of $14, and the money came in droves with the gelding a $4.40 chance at barrier rise. Nock also rode Gallic Fox, and he settled second last, eight lengths off the lead before the apprentice made his run near the turn and steered the winner towards the outside fence. After claiming the lead, Gallic Fox held off a late challenge from runner up Rapt to win by a head. The winner had very good wet track form.

Four jockeys – Nock, Jean Van Overmeire, Keagan Latham and Aaron Bullock all rode two winners at the meeting. Overmeire kicked off the day aboard Kris Lees’ promising stayer Oakfield Hawk and the gelding was very impressive in a 1.37 length victory. The son of Dundeel stepped up in class after two country wins and faced a tough 2370m journey on the wet track. JVO settled Oakfield Hawk at the tail of the field before making a long run from the half mile. The gelding joined the leaders halfway down the straight but shifted in abruptly. Overmeire straightened him up before he came away to win convincingly.

The popular jockey backed up in race two the Independent Mobility & Rehab Maiden Plate (1900m) aboard the $1.45 favourite Waverley. The winner, trained by John Sargent had been frustrating, winless in his twelve starts before Saturday. He was too classy in the latter stages on Saturday scoring by ¾ length.

Latham and Randwick trainer Michael Freedman combined with a winning double including two-year-old filly Cindersea in the Ocean and Lake All Trade Services 2yo Maiden Plate (900m). The Deep Field filly was on debut after two trials, and she came from midfield to run down favourite Flying Argyle by 0.64 of a length. The duo’s other win was in the Hunter Street Chambers Super Maiden Plate (1400m) with the well backed Cook Island Girl. The filly had not won in seven previous starts.

Mark Minervini’s mare Star Impact was successful in the final event the Lucy & Lenny CF Warriors Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m). Bullock put her in a great spot in running midfield, and she unwound in the straight to win by two lengths running away.  It was the mares fourth win since Minervini purchased her as a tried horse eighteen months ago.  Bullock’s other winner was the John Thompson trained Hell’s Itch in the Griffiths Computerised Engineering Midway Maiden Handicap (1200m).

The NJC will host another race meeting next Saturday.