Gary Harley – Wrap – 25.05.24

The Paul Perry stable notched up its 50th winner of the current season on Saturday as the Newcastle-Hunter Hall of Famer saddled up winners at both Newcastle and Randwick.

It was the Hunter Melanoma Foundation Race Day at Newcastle, and the legendary trainer had nine runners at the meeting. His only winner was Tiwi Girl, however four of his charges Flying Argyle, Senshi, Princess Cruiser and Curl Curl finished close seconds in their respective races. Another of his team Bakerloo, ridden by Newcastle based jockey Ash Morgan was successful in the Randwick Midway Handicap. Tiwi Girl and Bakerloo were both $21 chances.

Tiwi Girl, ridden by Scone apprentice Braith Nock came from midfield to run down stablemate Flying Argyle in the Aaron Walter Century 21 2yo Maiden Plate (900m). Perry was the only local trainer to win a race at Newcastle, however Newcastle based Darryl McLellan took the riding honours with a double in the final two races for country trainers.

McLellan was aboard the Tuncurry trained McKeon a $21 chance in the Newcastle Financial Planning Group Benchmark 64 Handicap (1250m). He settled midfield and made his run with the well supported Princess Cruiser in the straight before putting his head in front on the line. The Joe Burges trained mare was first up, however in December she was beaten .40 length in a Randwick Highway.

McLellan backed up forty minutes later to steer the talented Scone mare Villa Treville to victory in the Robyn Platt Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m). The four-year-old bred and raced by Gerry Harvey had outstanding country form, winning four races from six starts prior to Saturday. Villa Treville, trained by Stephen Jones resumed from a spell to win by 4 ½ lengths at Tamworth on May 10.  On Saturday the mare raced on the speed and looked certain to be run down by heavily backed odds-on favourite Curl Curl in the closing stages only to tough it out and win by .41 of a length. It was Jones’ sixth winner during May.

Andrew Gibbons was the only other novocastrian to ride a winner when he brought Scone four-year-old Crop Duster from last in the straight to win the Fulton Hogan HMF Cup Benchmark 64 Handicap (1250m). The winner is talented however he normally races at the tail of the field giving away big starts, hence his record of four wins from 23 starts. Crop Duster loves a long straight and in the small field on Saturday Gibbons eased him back to last and started to rev him up in the straight. Crop Duster arrived on the post to win by a Head. Trainer Jeremy Gask is a South Australian who trained successfully in England before settling in Scone.

Central Coast trainer Jake Hull has turned around the form of former South Australian gelding Six Foot Song, winner of the Newcastle Skin Check Provincial Benchmark 68 Handicap (1890m). Before joining Hull’s stable the five-year-old had won three of twenty-nine starts. His two starts for Hull resulted in an eye-catching fifth at Newcastle on May 4 before Saturday’s win.

The eagerly awaited debut of four-year-old mare Clear Thinking did not eventuate as the $1.40 favourite refused to enter the barriers for the Quarry Mining Maiden Handicap and was scratched.