Gary Harley – Wrap – 27.01.24

Chris Waller’s Kiwi gelding Unusual Legacy confirmed his staying potential when he outclassed the opposition in the Harrison Painting – Jack Newton Benchmark 64 Handicap (1850m) at the Newcastle Jockey Clubs Legends race meeting on Saturday. The lightly raced four-year-old owned by the trainer’s wife Stephanie and long-time stable clients the Muollo family was having his third career start, and his second Australian start on Saturday. He won an Otaki Maiden at double figure odds on debut in November before joining the Waller stable.

Unusual Legacy was a good thing beaten at Newcastle when second in his first Australian start on January 11, when he was badly held up in the straight. On Saturday the Kiwi was backed from black figures into $1.50 and with stable jockey Lee Magorrian aboard the favourite was never going to be beaten. He stepped up from 1500m to 1850m on Saturday, and after travelling sweetly in fourth place he unwound in the home straight to win by 2.6 lengths. The sky is the limit for the gelding and he will be better over more ground.

Former South African jockey Keagan Latham based in Sydney these days landed a treble at Saturday’s meeting. Wyong trainer Kim Waugh prepared two of Latham’s winners Community and The Himalayas. Community, raced by former rugby league players Frank Lawler, Brendan Dooley, John Carlaw, Justin Dooley, and Steve Storrie was first past the post at his ninth start. The four-year-old was placed in five of his previous eight starts and he raced handy to the speed before he took the lead late and held off the Chris Waller trained Counter which came from last.

The Himalayas has been out of form with three well beaten, unplaced efforts this preparation. While part owner Mark Waugh was commentating on the test cricket in Queensland the gelding fought hard in the closing stages to hold off the challengers to win the Jim Velich Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m). It was the five-year-olds third win in eighteen starts.

Tamworth trained Subuki ran up to her good recent form when Latham steered her to victory in the Bob Velich Memorial Benchmark 68 Handicap (1600m). Slow out of the barriers, the mare was near last at the top of the straight before coming to the extreme outside of the big field and flashing home. Hunter Valley businessmen Wayne Brown owns the winner, and he is her fourth trainer. Subuki won at Tamworth two starts back before a last start third on the Kensington track.

Winning Proposal, the only two-year-old in the field was impressive in winning the opening event, the Velich Advisory – Robert Thompson Maiden Plate (900m). The filly trained by Kristen Buchanan was on debut and came from midfield along the rail to win. Talented Central Coast apprentice Anna Roper, enjoying a successful season was aboard the winner.

Nathan Doyle was the only Newcastle trainer to saddle up a winner when his mare Dunaloce was successful in the LRV Constructions – Gary Harley Maiden Plate (1500m). The former Victorian had been narrowly beaten at Newcastle last start on January 11.