Article- Craig Kerry- The Herald
A hometown win for trainer Andrew Macdonald with Major Murphy in the Robert Thompson Handicap was a highlight of Legends Day at Newcastle Racecourse on Sunday.
“He’s a great guy,” Macdonald told Sky Racing. “He’s only rode the one winner for me but I’ve always asked for his advice. He’s a sensational character in the racing game.”
“He’s been battling this whole prep,” Macdonald said. “After his first win at Taree, it just came home really late. He was without a trial or anything, but at home, at the track, the beach, he’s been working really consistently. We’ve just run into bad luck time and time again the last couple of runs.
“Today it was a perfect ride from Jackson [Searle], he just timed it really well and produced him on the line.”
Top Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, another honoured on Legends Day, claimed the Summer Provincial Series heat to end the program with Grande Rumore.
The mare was strong late to win by almost two lengths from favourite Saquon, which also qualified for the final for another Legend honouree, trainer Paul Perry. Lees already had Darleb in the decider and he expected Grande Rumore to be a contender.
“She really lengthened nicely so I think she will be a mare who will be competitive in the final,” Lees said.
Brad Widdup-trained Outlook ($5) led and hung on bravely to win the Gary Harley Handicap (2300m) by a quarter of a length.
The four-year-old mare won at Newcastle two starts back before a fourth at Cranbourne. Widdup, who had a double on the day, said the race had long been a target.
“It’s nice the club can recognise the local legends, I think it’s fantastic,” Widdup said.
“We had to go to Melbourne, just with programming, but this race was always on the cards. She probably got a bit tired late but she’s doing a great job and she’s starting to get stronger.”
Former Victorian Made By Khan showed staying potential with a gritty front-running win in the Paul Perry class 1 handicap (1850m) for Gosford trainer Adam Duggan.
Perry started the day with victory in the Kris Lees 3YO and up maiden handicap (900m) with Bodgie, which was ridden by Lees’ apprentice Madi Derrick.
It was a 100th winner for Derrick, who recently moved to Newcastle from Perth with new NJC track manager Chris Nation.
“He’s still very green and he’ll learn a lot from that run. He didn’t quite know how to let down at the top of the straight, but he’s working it all out and I think he’s a good horse.
“He probably just needed that little bit of time to mature and gelding him has helped as well.”