Gary Harley – Wrap – 27.11.23

Newcastle trainer Sam Kavanagh is battling cancer but a winning double at the Newcastle Jockey Clubs Hunter Community Race Day on Sunday put a smile on the 37-year-olds face. Kavanagh’s winners Spirit Of Storm and Magnatear were well received by punters as the pair were well backed favorites. The talented trainer has twenty horses in work at Newcastle and with the dedication of his partner Kelly and staff has been able to keep his business operating despite undergoing chemotherapy.

Spirit Of Storm was resuming from a lengthy spell in the Lexus Of Newcastle Maiden Handicap (900m) and from the time markets were framed was second favourite behind odds-on favourite Bobby Is King. However, the latter tossed his rider on the way to the barrier and was a late scratching. Spirit Of Storm ($2.60) was placed in her only two previous starts at Newcastle in January and February. The mare was last to leave the barriers and Ash Morgan allowed her to remain at the tail of the field behind a wall of horses before steering Spirit Of Storm away from the rail 200m out. Once she balanced up the mare knuckled down and sprouted wings to nail the leaders on the line.

Magnatear was a luckless, narrowly beaten odds on favourite at Hawkesbury first up and he was heavily backed into $2.20 favourite in the O’Neill’s Tyres Maitland Jim O’Neill Memorial Maiden Plate (1300m). He didn’t jump well, but Ash Morgan drove him forward and he led clearly after 100m. Magnatear cruised along up front, and he bounded away halfway down the straight to win by four lengths. The winner is very smart and has a bright future.

Scone mare Rapbidash maintained her unbeaten record with victory in the Pro-Torque Minion Cup Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m). Trained by South African Lyle Chandler the four-year-old was taken back to last from the outset by Mitchell Bell and he eased her to the outside of the field in the home straight. The mare only put her head in front on the line however she will derive great benefit from the outing.

Australia’s leading trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace produced a smart filly in The Parks And Bistro Catering 2yo Maiden Plate (900m). Deep Joy, a daughter of Deep Field was on debut after one trial at Warwick Farm on November 8. Newcastle apprentice Dylan Gibbons who won the Sydney Cup for the trainers earlier in the year let the filly settle back in the small field. It was only in the last 50 metres that Deep Joy warmed up and she savaged the line to just win. Maher and Eustace recently won Newcastle premier two-year-old race, the Max Lees Classic on The Hunter Day with Erno’s Cube.

Chris Waller and Zac Lloyd combined with Kenyada, the longest priced winner of the day in the final event The Hunter Community Race Day Maiden Plate (1500m). The three-year-old daughter of Kermadec was on debut, and in her past five trials had finished last and second last. Kenyada, a $12 chance raced in fourth place and at the top of the straight Lloyd drove her along the rail where there was plenty of room. The filly went to the line strongly.

Emmadella looked the bet of the day in the AON United Midway Class 1 Handicap (1400m), and the $1.85 favourite did not let the punters down. John Thompson’s filly travelled sweetly in fourth place and despite not being comfortable rounding the home turn she was too strong late. Ultra consistent Emmadella has had five starts for two wins, two placings and a fourth.

The Cessnock track is still in use for training purposes and Wine Country trainer Janelle Shapter won the opening event, the Bekaert Ropeworks Benchmark 64 Handicap (2300m) with Muckabout. The latter went up $41 when prices were released and started at $6. Muckabout proved to be the superior stayer.

The Newcastle Jockey Club race again on Saturday and it will be the fourth race meeting on the course proper in 14 days. A great track!