Kris Lees boosted his representation in the $500,000 Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship final to five when he trifectaed the Wildcard at Newcastle on Thursday. With the last three spots in the final up for grabs, Lees saddled up four starters. Loch Eagle, the classiest galloper in the series was backed from $5.00 into $3.80 and the son of Lonhro produced an outstanding performance to come from near the tail of the field to win by 1 1/2 lengths running away. Loch Eagle has very good wet track form and he appreciated the Soft 6 surface.
Lees’ import Spangler, with the blinkers on finished strongly into second place at $8.50 and Willinga Freefall was a creditable third. Prior to Thursday, Lees had qualified Cloudland and Wyong Qualifier winner Acquitted for the final at Randwick on April 8.
Lees rates Loch Eagle highly; “He was fortunate to still be eligible for this series as he was unlucky not to have won a couple of Stakes races during the winter, and if he had Loch Eagle would not have been eligible. He was very impressive today producing a good turn of foot, and the fast tempo suited him. Spangler was strong late and we knew he was looking for a mile – he will run well at Randwick. Willinga Freefall was brave as he had to do a lot of work” Lees said. Dylan Gibbons rode the winner and gave him a perfect ride.
The only other Newcastle trained galloper to win on the program was the promising Paul Perry colt The Escape, in the Sharp Office Midway 2yo Maiden Handicap (900m). He raced greenly on debut at Gosford recently when a close third, and although still green on Thursday it was a classy win. Perry trained the colt’s mother Kokomo, a good performer named after the famous Beach Boys hit.
Two promising three-year-olds clashed in the final event, the Coastline Pools And Spas Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1200m). The Gosford trained Karedada was backed from $4.20 into $2.30 while the Kiwi bred Jedibeel was a drifter from $1.90 out to $2.60. Jedibeel was in second place throughout but was no match for Karedada late.
Reece Jones was leading rider on the day with a treble.
The NJC’ s next meeting is on the course proper on Easter Saturday, April 8.