Newcastle Review – 02.12.18

Newcastle Jockey Club hosted one of its best racedays of the year at the Newcastle Racecourse on Sunday.

It was the second Legends Race Day with races recognising the three NJC Legends. Max Lees, Robert Thompson and Gary Harley. Family and friends of the legends were guests of the NJC in Chevals Restaurant.

In the Australian Bloodstock Marquee more than 400 people attended the Mark Hughes Foundation fundraiser.

Former Knights stars Andrew Johns, Paul Harrigan, Danny Buderus and Bill Peden were there to support their old team mate Mark Hughes.

The inaugural Max Lees Classic for two-year-old’s was run in 2017 when local colt Jonker blitzed a classy field of juveniles.

Jonker then won the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions and was placed in Group 2 company during the Spring.

On Sunday Peter and Paul Snowden’s $750,000 colt Strasbourg was a red hot $1.60 favourite after impressive Sydney trial form.

Corey Brown was in town to ride the colt and after a moderate start, Strasbourg settled near the tail of the field.

The colt travelled sweetly and when Brown called on him at the top of the straight, Strasbourg started to unwind.

He raced away to beat Kris Lees colt Snowzone by more than two lengths with Bjorn Baker’s Stralex in third place.

Peter Snowden who has trained winners of all of the NJC’s feature races was delighted to win the Max Lees Classic.

“I Knew Max really well and I rode for him when I was younger. It was a pleasure to win a race named in his honour.

Strasbourg is a talented horse, but I was concerned that the 900 meters would be too short for him, but he was too classy.

I knew he would be strong late and he would love the magnificent big track.

He wants more ground and he will run in the Inglis Challenge in a couple of weeks,” Snowden said.

Brown was full of praise for Strasbourg and said he will run ‘1600’ later on.

The two-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey had a field day riding four of the eight winners.

The Robert Thompson Cup was won by the Muswellbrook mare Alliterate trained by Pat Farrell. With Chad Lever indisposed, Glyn Schofield rode the mare which had not won a race in fourteen months.

Alliterate had no luck in her previous start at Gosford when blocked for a run in the straight.

The inaugural Gary Harley Handicap was won by the Victorian stayer Quality Approach. The three-year-old with Brown in the saddle cruised home by more than four lengths.

The winner is trained by leading trainer Victorian trainer Ciaron Maher and his training partner David Eustace.

The Legends Race meeting was dominated by visiting trainers who won all eight races.