Leading Provincial jockey Mitchell Bell landed a treble and the evergreen Robert Thompson a double at the Pacific National Westpac Rescue Helicopter Race Day at Newcastle on Saturday. Bell a previous Newcastle Premiership winner, steered home the first two winners for the powerful Snowden stable.
Two-year-old colt Cosmic Force was impressive on debut beating a classy field of juveniles all facing the starter for the first time in the opening event, a 2YO Maiden Plate (900m). The two best supported in the race, Cosmic Force $3.90 and Blazing Miss $3.10 to $1.85 quinelled the race. Cosmic Force was first out of the barrier, but Bell allowed the speedy Foxy Rocket to drive up along the rail to join the winner soon after the start. Bell called on Cosmic Force 250 metres from home and the colt dashed clear.
Blazing Miss had enjoyed a nice trail behind the leaders and when she got clear at the 200, the filly made good ground on the winner. At the winning post, Cosmic Force had three quarters of a length to spare from Blazing Miss, with Stralex a further length away third.
The win was a huge boost for former track star Deep Field, which stands at stud on Newgate Farm in the Hunter Valley. Deep Field’s oldest progeny are two-year old’s and Cosmic Force was the stallions’ first winner.
In race 2, a 900 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap, the Snowden’s and Bell combined with the promising three-year-old filly Natalia, backed from $3.20 to $2.60, Natalia was second last in the early stages and she was held up for a short time in the early part of the straight. Bell pushed her through a narrow gap at the 200-metre mark and the filly started to unwind.
Natalia raced past the leader Silver Melody in the closing stages and she won by 1 ½ lengths. Bell was full of praise for the Snowden pair. “Cosmic Force is a real professional. The experience will do him the world of good and he will keep improving. He will be a better horse over more ground and he is Saturday Metropolitan class. I thought at the 300 that Natalia would run a nice second as the leader was going strong and we were back looking for a run. My filly sprouted wings when she got clear and she was very good today. Natalia needs cover in races and she has won two from three and she will only get better.”
Bells’ third leg of his treble was the New Zealand bred and John O’Shea trained Saving, in the 1400 metre Maiden Handicap. A $600,000 buy at New Zealand Karaka Yearling Sale, the three-year-old was on debut after three average trials. Unwanted by punters, Saving ($8.50) settled in the second half of the field and the colt sprinted quickly from the 200 metres.
Thompson’s winning double took his career tally to 4375. He was aboard $14 chance, Cerca Trova for Gosford trainer Kevin Miller in a 1400 metre Maiden Handicap. Thompson allowed the mare to drift back until she was one off the rail. He pulled her out to make her run at the top of the straight and Cerca Trova outsprinted her opposition.
The Hall Of Famers’ other winner was the Coffs Harbour mare Super Tonic in the 1300 metre Benchmark 70 Handicap. The mare hot the front inside the last 200 metres and withstood the challenge of the desperately unlucky Vihari.
Newcastle and Hunter Valley trainers never got a look in with all eight winners trained away from the region.