The 2300m of the Group 3 $175,000 XXXX Gold Newcastle Cup at Newcastle on Friday is the unknown factor for the Chris Waller trained Beyond Thankful.
Beyond Thankful is chasing back to back Provincial Cups after taking out the Listed $150,000 Carlton Mid Wyong Gold Cup (2080m) at Wyong on September 4 with Hugh Bowman aboard.
Bowman takes the mount again on the Irish import who will be stepping up to 2300m for the first time in his career and Waller is unsure how the six year old will handle the journey.
“The 2300m is a query, a big query but he is fit,” Waller said.
But Beyond Thankful is super fit and racing in outstanding form with four wins during a long tough campaign.
“He has won four Saturday races or better this preparation,” Waller said.
Beyond Thankful kicked off his current campaign with a first up win back in May in a 1400m BenchMark 89 Handicap at Randwick.
Then later on in his preparation he put back to back wins together in a 1900m BenchMark 93 at Canterbury on July 25 followed by a win over 1800m in a BenchMark 95 Handicap at Rosehill three weeks later.
Beyond Thankful then missed a place when fourth in the Listed $100,000 Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill on August 29 but was then quick to bounce back into the winner’s stall with a tough win in the Wyong Gold Cup.
The Newcastle Cup is virtually a re-run of the Wyong Gold Cup with the first six placegetters, Beyond Thankful, Just A Cosmic, Orbec, Ghost Protocol, The Offer and Oriental Lady, all set to line again on Friday.
While most of those runners are prominent in the market order at Ladbrokes.com.au, the David Vandyke trained Astronomus is currently at the head of the Newcastle Cup market order at $4.80 after $11 was on offer when the field was released on Wednesday.
Astronomus is also tackling the 2300m for the Newcastle Cup for the first time but has been strong at the finish of his races with two wins over 2000m from his last three starts.
The New Approach five year old was a winner over 2000m in a Randwick BenchMark 80 Handicap on a heavy 9 on July 11 three starts back and then won over the Randwick 2000m again in a BenchMark 83 Handicap on September 5 at his latest outing.
Newcastle Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.80 Astronomus, $5 The Offer, Orbec, $7 Beyond Thankful, $14 Ghost Protocol, $15 Oriental Lady, Zee Zeely, $17 Sasenkile, $18 Jetset Lad, $19 Disclaimer, Just As Cosmic, $41 Napoleon, $61 Nissile, $81, Rio Perdido, $101 More Than Aholiday