It was the Hugh Bowman – Willie Pike show at Thursday’s Newcastle Jockey Club race meeting. Bowman rode four of the eight winners while Pike steered home three including victory in the feature event the Polytrack Provincial Midway Wild Card.
The Jason Coyle trained mare Pippali went to the barriers as the $4.20 favourite in the Wild Card and she revelled in the heavy conditions to win by a length. Pippali put the writing on the wall in her previous start when a fast finishing third in a Qualifier at Newcastle on March 17.
Kris Lees mare Tawfiq Lass was runner up after once again showing her liking for a rain affected track. The Lees pair French Marine and Confessed dead heated for third. The Newcastle trainer has seven runners in the rich Final at Randwick on April 9.
Pike combined with Paul Perry to win the Rarity Wholesale Benchmark 64 Handicap (1870m) with Theo Legion. The latter set up a big lead before entering the straight and he held a commanding lead half way down the straight. Runner up Dr. Evil got within half a length of the winner.
The west Australian “wizard” completed the day with a 6.36 length win on the Chris Waller trained Thalassophile in the final event the TAB Venue Mode Class 1 Handicap (1200m). The lightly raced filly has won two from four and both wins were on heavy tracks.
Bowman rode the first four winners, two of them for Kris Lees. The pair combined to win the opening event The Sage Painting Maiden Handicap (900m) with the speedy filly Rapid Response. The winner began quickly and led all the way and narrowly beat the fast finishing Marooniyah.
Lees imported mare Milka with Bowman aboard outstayed the opposition in the New Zealand Bloodstock Maiden Plate (1870m).
Apart from Bowman and Pike the only jockey to ride a winner was the Scone apprentice Reece Jones. The latter steered the Jeremy Gask trained mare Orbital Express to victory in the Red Funnel Class 1 Handicap (1600m).