Gai Waterhouse has two good chances in the Newcastle Newmarket. Source: Herald Sun/Darren Tindale
Run over 1400m, the Group 3 Newmarket Handicap offers a winning purse of $75,000, but more importantly, it carries ballot exemption for the rich Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 12 for the victor.
Champion trainer, Gai Waterhouse, saddles up two leading hopes in the field of 15 – inform four-year-old Almighty Charge and the more than handy Rain Drum. Almighty Charge has won three and placed once over this distance and is coming off a close second behind stablemate Ecuador at Rosehill early this month. The ‘first lady’s’ other representative, Rain Drum, is second-up from a spell, having finished 2.2 lengths behind the flying mare Appearance at WFA 25 days ago. Very consistent, the six-year-old son of Fastnet Rock has won six races and been placed on six further occasions from 15 starts. The gelding has won twice second run in, but has never saluted at distances less than 1500m.
Peter Moody has an interesting runner in Strawberry Boy. The son of Redoute’s Choice won his maiden at this track over 1250m on a slow surface when trained by Waterhouse three years ago. Six wins and four placings from 13 trips to the races have netted almost $300,000 in prizemoney for his connections. At his return to racing after a four-month spell, the five-year-old gelding ran out of puff behind Mouro. However, he has won three of four second-up. Moody’s other runner is High Esteem.
Peter Snowden is represented by veteran Pinwheel. Though he continues to be competitive at the elite level, the son of Lonhro hasn’t won since August 2012. Snowden also has mares, Cameo and Wistful, entered for Darley. After a couple of barrier trials, import Slow Pace will make his Australian debut for Kris Lees.
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