Gary Harley – Wrap -26.02.24

It was a milestone day for popular Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester at the Wine Country Race Club Meeting conducted at Newcastle on Monday. The former pastry cook has been training on the Cessnock racetrack for 35 years, and on Monday he trifected a race for the first time. It was the New Era Technology Country Boosted Maiden Handicap (1350m) and Selvam ($6.50) stormed home to beat stablemate Our Esprit ($6.50) by .69 of a length, with the unlucky Smart Jazz ($3.70) in third place.  Boom Scone apprentice Braith Nock rode the winner a treat coming from last on the turn.

Earlier in the day Sylvester combined with promising Central Coast apprentice Millie Thompson to land Lago’s Daughter ($21) the winner of the Kloster Motor Group Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m). Apprenticed to Kim Waugh, Thompson has now ridden five winners in a short time and has had her allowance reduced from 4kgs to 3kgs.

Sylvester is a legendary racing identity in Cessnock where he has won eight Jungle Juice Cups, six ridden by his best mate Robert Thompson. He had several mentors in the early days, particularly Thompson’s father Arthur, and Sylvester was over the moon after training the trifecta.

“Very happy. I have trained plenty of quinella’s but not a trifecta. I only have thirteen in work these days, and I love training. I don’t have the quality I have had in the past, but they all pay their way”. Sylvester said. The former baker has won four Metropolitan Highways and five country cups around the state. “My trackwork riders Kirsty Formosa and Codie McPherson do a great job. We only have six trainers at Cessnock these days and 53 horses worked there last Tuesday” he said on Monday.

Hunter Valley based trainers won four of the seven races with Todd Howlett and Jeremy Gask joining Sylvester in the winner’s stall. Howlett’s Devil’s Inn with Kris Lees’ apprentice Benjamin Osmond in the saddle fought off all challengers to win the Lees Racing Country Boosted Benchmark 58 Handicap (1350m). The Dungog boy let Devil’s Inn bowl along in front and he held on to win by a nose in a blanket finish.

Gask, who trained in England before settling on his property near Scone breathed a sigh of relief when Crop Duster broke through for a well-deserved win in the Davali TBS Easter Yearlings Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m). The horse has no speed and has been storming home from the tail of the field without winning. However, the four-year-old was given a gun ride by Andrew Gibbons on Monday. The Novocastrian navigated a lovely passage on the rail from near last in the straight.

The Waterhouse-Bott stable trained the easiest winner of the day, Miss Amore in the Horsepower Feeds & Supplements Maiden Plate (1200m). Apprentice Amy McLucas took the filly to the front 400 meters out and she careered away to win by 3.59 lengths.

Aaron Bullock rarely rides a $21 winner, but he did on Monday. Major Ore, on debut won the Living Turf Maiden Plate (1200m) for Warwick Farm trainer Greg Hickman.

The course proper raced magnificently after so much rain.