NJC geared up for Provincial-Midway Championships

Story: Newcastle Weekly

Photo: Peter Stoop

The Newcastle Jockey Club (NJC) is gearing up for a big day of action when it kicks off the Provincial-Midway Championships this week.

The organisation will host the opening qualifier, over 1400m, at the Newcastle Racecourse on Thursday 24 February at 4.50pm. Two additional races are then scheduled to take place on Thursday 17 March and the Wild Card on Thursday 31 March at the Broadmeadow circuit.

NJC racing operations supervisor Dave Dyson said the Provincial-Midway Championships was an exciting addition to the calendar. “The series comprise of seven $150,000 qualifying races leading to the $500,000 Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday 9 April,” he explained. “Three qualifiers are for provincial-trained horses only while three are for both provincial and midway gallopers. “The winners and runners-up from the first six qualifying races earn a start in the Final, while the first three placegetters from the Wild Card round out the field. “The introduction of midway horses this year sees eight different metropolitan stables represented in a great innovation.”

Dyson admitted the Newcastle fraternity was well-placed to make a mark in the event.

“A worthy mention for this year is Kris Lees,” he said. “The Novocastrian trainer teamed up with renowned jockey Hugh Bowman to claim the 2021 Provincial Championships with Cristal Breeze. “The pair join forces once again this Thursday when Lees saddles up Rustic Steel. “His other representative in heat one will be Tawiq Lass, to be ridden by his up-and-coming apprentice Dylan Gibbons. “The other local interest is provided by trainer Paul Perry with a runner on his home track, Tupou.

“Perry placed runner-up in last year’s Final with Pandano and will be looking for the win in 2022.”

To mark the start of the Provincial-Midway Championships, Sky Racing’s Dave Stanley is broadcasting the Racing HQ radio show from Newcastle Racecourse on Thursday, too.